Target: Governor Pat Quinn, Representative Lou Lang, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Goal: Veto pending gambling expansion legislation which awaits Governor Quinn’s approval. Prevent additional exploitation of poor and working class gamblers, and stop the spread of predatory gambling practices in Illinois.
A basic concept of consumerism is “you get what you pay for”. Consumers spend what is considered the fair market value for receipt of goods and services. But what price can you place on a dream? How many gamblers place bets in the hopes of winning big and having all their financial problems solved? What are they receiving in return?
Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) introduced legislation which would allow the expansion of gambling in Illinois. This legislation has already passed both the Illinois House and Senate, yet Governor Quinn is hesitant to sign the bill. Rep. Lang and many of his colleagues believe that this is a significant answer to the state’s budget shortfall and will encourage Illinois residents to stay and play in the state rather than crossing the border into Indiana. Sadly, research into the validity of this argument, as well as a realization of the negative consequences, have not been considered.
Other states have used similar arguments to expand gambling on their home turf, only to find that the anticipated benefits never materialized. In 2006, for example, Americans lost $91 billion in all forms of gambling combined. As compared to other forms of entertainment, more was spent on gambling losses than sporting events, movie tickets, recorded music and theme parks combined. Gambling proponents downplay the fact that gamblers are more likely to be young, poor or working class, often betting money intended for rent, food and household necessities. Once lost, these individuals must rely on government programs to survive, resulting in net higher costs to states. Gamblers from households below the poverty line are at least three times more likely to place a bet than those from households of $100,000 or more. Additionally, an estimated 14% of compulsive gamblers have committed some type or crime or stolen from employers in order to fuel their gambling habits.
There are no benefits to expanding the availability of gambling in Illinois. The rate of gambling addiction is currently growing at a much faster rate than that of alcoholism or any other addiction, and is prevalent most commonly among young adults. Given the lack of preventative education and rehabilitative resources, it is one of the fastest spreading addictions. When asked about in treatment rehabilitation programs in Illinois, Rep. Lang responded that he did not know of any.
Without question, the ultimate responsibility for any addiction lies with the addict. Let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that enabling and encouraging addictions make our elected officials any less responsible for the consequences.
Please sign this petition to encourage Gov. Quinn to veto pending gambling legislation.
Dear Governor Quinn, Representative Lang and Mayor Emanuel,
There is no question that financial change must come to the State of Illinois. We can not continue operating at a shortfall.
Expanding gambling in Illinois is not an answer to this financial challenge. The expectation that the state will benefit by keeping gambling money in Illinois rather than seeing it cross over into Indiana can not be substantiated. In fact, in similar instances, states that felt they were losing out to casinos in border states found no significant increase in revenues.
While not every gambler is a gambling addict, the predatory (yet regulated) practices in the industry have resulted in millions of Americans suffering from this disease, whether directly or through a family member. Gambling breeds corruption and most often exploits young adults, poor and working class families.
Please do not let this legislation be enacted. Give those that struggle to survive day to day a fighting chance.
[Your Name Goes Here]