Man - talk about the pot calling the kettle black on education! But hey, we should be used to that from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. This is a man who has made talking out of both sides of his mouth an art form! But let's not kid ourselves for a moment - Governor Pat Quinn is no friend of education and/or its funding! And if you don't believe me, well, just think about how he nonchalantly moved Federal ARRA Funds into the Illinois General Fund and then stiffed every school district in the state by slashing education funding in his State Budget. I hate to break it to the Huckster, but talking the talk isn't the same as giving our children the means to excel.
But hey, he does have a point when it comes to gaming expansion hurting education! The over-saturation of gaming has already reared it's ugly head as all the area casinos have reported a significant drop in their revenues ever since the new Des Plaines Rivers Casino opened and cut into their action. Of course, Illinois lawmakers already knew that would happen, but, I suppose the rabid bartering for that "last" gaming license must have had them all salivating.
After all - that was all "upfront funny money" wasn't it?
Here is the reality - whether the economy is up or whether it is down - there are only so many gaming customers to go around. And if you don't believe me, well, just ask the Horse Racing Industry since they have been hit the hardest by the proliferation of "riverboats." For the lif of me, though, I still haven't figured out how folks can think that there are bigger payouts at the casinos as opposed to getting better odds in a "short field of horse?" I guess there is a certain glitz that is just too tempting to ignore at a casino.
It also shows you why racetracks want those slots. They know people will get hooked on those spinning reels between wagers. Personally, though, I still think your best odds are with horse-racing. That is if people are smart enough to play it right and not get caught up in those gimmick bets, which is nothing but betting against yourself if you think about it. Besides, casino's only have two areas where they can offer even, or slightly better, odds for the gambler. Black Jack and Craps! Somehow, though, people still gravitate to those Slots! And for casinos like that because that is where the money is.
But before we get into the addictive powers of casino gaming, we need to examine why lawmakers seem to think that gaming is the end all to be all. Gaming and Education Funding have never been that compatible in the first place. Even in good times there are too many loopholes and conditions attached to when casino's actually pay off on it's revenues. And school districts are often the ones always left in the lurch because of that. So what exactly has gaming given them to date?
Any lawmaker who believes that further over saturating a product that is in decline is an idiot! Never-the-less lawmakers continue drilling us with the notion that casinos will somehow solve everything. I guess that goes to show you that they are indeed the idiots we think they are. They just don't get it that Gaming doesn't solve a damn thing.
Besides, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa all look far more attractive to gamblers. First - they don't have smoking bans in place. And like it or not - Illinois gamers don't like that rule. But there is something bigger than that as well - "Comps." The casinos in surrounding states have done a great job in handing out those "all-important comps" and that is what keeps their Illinois customers coming back. If you haven't noticed too - the surrounding states have not over-saturated their casinos, rather, they have strategically placed theirs in convenient locations designed to lure away Illinoisans. Smart. Very Smart!
However, if Illinois lawmakers want to take another stab at their Gaming Model - they must actually look at cutting the number of facilities and then turn them into "must" travel destinations. Build Gaming Palaces! Look, their is absolutely no reason in the world why a Chicago Casino, or those operating in other good locations couldn't attract world-class gamers. But given the greed of the City of Chicago, and Cook County, in raping their tourists - well they have pretty much blackened their own eyes.
It is no secret among travelers that Chicago levies far too many taxes, hidden and unhidden, as well as ridiculous surcharges. So, why then would they want to come here and lay money down some serious cash in a State-Of-The-Art Gaming Palace? Wouldn't it make more sense to go to a friendlier destination? But Chicago Machine Politics demand a cut of everything, and as such - they will never change.
Hopefully there will be some real thought given to the state of Gaming in Illinois. Gaming Expansion, though, would be more than a bad deal at this point. But you know what? I suspect politicians will continue pushing for them just the same. And somehow there are always more than a few consortium's who will be dumb enough to outbid each other for one of those sacred licenses. However, if the most recent gaming data hasn't already shown them the stark reality by now- then let them waste their money. I am sure the politicians and appointed board members will be more than happy to take it, right? But let's get this straight - there will be NO LONG-TERM BENEFITS in New Gaming!
As for Education? Well, you and I already know the truths there. School Districts and School Children will continue to get a raw deal by Illinois Politicians. Parents will also have to continue digging ever deeper while lawmakers ignore the inequities of Property Taxes being the main source of Education Funding.
As for our governor - the Huckster Quinn. Well, he will continue to deceive even his own mother when it comes to his brand of politics. Then again, how can he tell her that he actually enjoys slashing eduction funding over say - adding a few more political appointments to the state payroll? That would probably break her heart, you know?