Park City casino an ill-conceived idea (published in Lake County Journals, 6/9)

June 9, 2011

The Greater Waukegan Ministerial Association is to be applauded for asking 160 churches across Lake County to urge Gov. Pat Quinn to veto a gambling expansion bill that sanctions five casinos, including one in Park City.

May citizens across Lake County should take a second look at the possible outcome should Gov. Quinn sign the gambling expansion bill.

1. Legalized gambling tends to depress businesses because it diverts money that could have been spent in the capital economy into gambling. Boarded-up business are commonly found surrounding a gambling casino.

2. Gambling preys on people who are poor with its promise of a life free from financial worries and burdens. It has been reported that 60 percent of casino revenue comes from gamblers making less than $24,000 a year.

3. Known in some quarters as “video crack,” those caught up in the gambling frenzy are prone to addiction. That breeds an increase of family and child neglect, divorce, bankruptcy and even suicides.

4. Any increase of jobs or influx of money would not offset the disproportionate social and negative effects among the poor and disadvantaged who can least afford to lose money.

5. Should government be seducing its citizens to gamble in state-sponsored vice, instead of being a positive moral force in society?

A casino in Park City would not be a God-sent for Lake County. It’s social and economic costs would be enormous in an area of Lake County already economically challenged.

Bravo to the following Lake County state House members who voted no –  Reps. Sandy Cole, JoAnn Osmond, Carol Sente and Ed Sullivan. Illinois senators who cast no votes were Dan Duffy, Susan Garrett, and Suzi Schmidt.

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