Survey: Most Illinois Residents Oppose Gambling Expansion

CHICAGO (CBS) — In a new survey, the Chicago Crime Commission says voters throughout the state are against the expansion of casino gambling, as a bill now on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk would authorize.

The bill approved by both houses of the General Assembly would create five new casinos, including one within the Chicago city limits. New casinos would also open in Lake County, the southern suburbs, Rockford and Danville.

The bill would also permit slot machines at racetracks, and at O’Hare and Midway international airports.

The Crime Commission, which itself is pushing against the bill, said a majority in almost all demographic groups in its survey were against the bill.

After reading a series of statements in the survey total of 56 percent of survey respondents thought gambling expansion would be bad for Illinois, while only 32 percent thought it would be good for the state, the survey said.

Those who identify with the Democrats were against the bill by a margin of 5 percent, while among those who identify with the Republicans, 63 percent of respondents were against the bill. Among independents, 61 percent were against the bill.

The only demographic group in which a majority supported gambling expansion was 18- to 34-year-olds, the Crime Commission said.

The number of respondents who were against gambling expansion constituted a majority before reading the survey, with 55 percent against and 35 percent in favor, the Crime Commission said.

“When asked, Illinois voters also said they feel the gambling expansion will have a negative impact on the quality of life in the State and, that it will add to human misery, without offsetting financial benefits,” Crime Commission chairman and president J.R. Davis said. “Survey results also indicate voters are deeply troubled that the legislation does not provide for enough investigators to deal with the issues created by a massive expansion of gaming in the state.”

The survey also found that 61 percent of respondents felt the state was on the wrong track, and that only 3 percent had a “very favorable” view and only 22 percent had a “somewhat favorable view” of the Illinois General Assembly.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said the gambling expansion would negatively impact quality of life in the state, 65 percent agreed that state lawmakers were dropping the ball by failing to increase the number of investigators to monitor the gambling expansion, and 55 percent agreed that money from taxes on casino gambling would not offset the human problems that gambling creates.

The Chicago Crime Commission has also taken its own position against gambling expansion. Earlier this month, Davis called the bill “dangerous,” and warned that federal prosecutors “should plan for a constant stream of federal corruption indictments against government officials, gambling operators and members of the Crime Syndicate.”

He added that the move essentially puts Chicago gaming in untested and most likely politically-connected hands.

Overall, the Crime commission said earlier this month, the gambling expansion will make Chicago “the Las Vegas of the Midwest.”

But the measure also has its strong backers. The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, for one, says the package could provide millions of dollars to county fairs, soil and water conservation districts, cooperative extensions and other entities.

Quinn has not made a decision on whether to sign or veto the bill, but has said in the past that the proposed casino expansion is “excessive.”

  • Zach Nepermann

    Yeah, I wonder why the age group that likes the idea of the expansion would happen to be the same age group that cant find jobs??? Really difficult to figure that out. 18-35 year olds like the idea probably for two reasons. It gives them a chance to get a job, and it brings more money into Illinois. Im guessing the 56% that said it was a bad idea, were all people that either a: had jobs b: were retired c: really didnt know what the question was. Think about it people. Crime is already everywhere if thats your reason for not thinking of this as a great job producing, money making attraction. Some people are just so selfish!

    • Pothead

      Raise the taxes on those 56%.

    • movinmarv

      Sure they will find jobs. The problem is the employees at the existing casinos would lose their jobs. Same with the revenue. All you would do is take from one and give to the other. Rob Peter to pay Paul as the saying goes. Bad news for the many employees of the casino industry. Hope some one thinks of them.

  • john

    The big hidden cost? Keeping all those Aldermen housed in Federal prison after being convicted on corruption charges stemming form the gambling.

  • iris

    I hope they all go bust.

  • tom sharp

    I’ll bet a lot of money that most of those 56% don’t pay their fair share of taxes and/ or raise and support gang bangers!

  • NoFluff

    The people of Illinois nEEd jobs and the state needs money, it’s a no brainer.

    I don’t see on here how MAnY people were surveyed, was it 5 people? I’m not part of the 18-35 yr old group and I think it would help this stupid state earn some money instead of enslaving The People to cough up more in taxes.

    You know, when the state doesn’t get federal funding ( tax cuts), We the People make up for it in our property taxes. If the bleeding hearts won’t allow gambling then ThEy can make up the state’s debt!

    I am sick of the “life must be fair for me backstabbing whiners” forcing their wants on everyone else. Get a clue, your parents lied, life is NoT fair, and try standing on your own 2 feet instead!

    I’ll say it again, in case you missed it: The people of Illinois nEEd jobs and the state needs money, it’s a no brainer.

  • Gus George Baseleon

    Are the percentages based on a few people?? What 100,1000 or 1mil. Explain this to me. Anyone who travels to the casinos on our boarders can testify to the fact that 8 to 9 cars out of 10,thats right ten are from ILLINOIS. Just look at the License Plates.To me that is more like an 80 to 90 % rate of return in our tax dollars going to our boarder states. Wake Up ILLINOIS. Its a no wounder these states have bill boards as you enter or leave thier states to transfer our jobs to them because of taxes.They also have two casinos on thier properties,thats right,ONE FOR SMOKERS AND NON-SMOKERS. YES,They know how to attract bussiness and satisfy the interest of others.The politicians of Illinois need to wake up.

  • David

    This survey is not accurate. I don’t know any one who opposes any additional sources of entertainment in the area. If you don’t like to gamble, then don’t go, but why should I not be able to? Anti gambling activists are so selfish.

    • Ruby

      There are already plenty of opportunities to gamble in Illinois with the existing casinos, lottery, and racetracks. Many people are opposed to this massive gambling expansion bill that will cause an increase in the huge taxpayer expenses of more crime, gambling addiction, domestic violence, and bankruptcy.

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