Has the Governor of Illinois had an Epiphany? I mean we do live in a state that could be one of the major poster child's for political corruption right? Well, it seems Governor Quinn is ready to deal on gaming expansion but is dead set against that expansion being overseen by operators who would more than likely allow some unsavory characters into the action and the inevitable conflicts of interest that would follow. Hmm - a curious thing indeed. After all, the shameless nature in which our Legislature have passed laws designed to protect their various enterprises without much regard to ethical or moral consideration hasn't exactly been a secret here. Nor have the actions of the Illinois Legislature been devoid of conflicts of interest.
So what gives Governor Quinn? Are you finally acknowledging that our state is rife with political corruption and that you now find this way of governance as being immoral? Look, the people of Illinois pretty much know that their interests have always taken a back seat to those of the lawmakers and their cronies more intent on enriching themselves. And let's not forget that the state's financial condition and imminent collapse has been a direct result of this sort of mentality. But hey - this has been our runaway train for a long time now. Exactly why politicians never bothered to put up a finger to the wind and figure out which way it was blowing is beyond me - but the rampant corruption has run unchecked for the 50+ years I've been a resident.
And I doubt that it will ever change in the Land of Lincoln.
So far as gaming goes, well the reality is that the conditions the Governor has placed on its expansion, won't in the end, prevent corruption. Even in a watered-down state it is bound to happen, especially if anyone is fool enough to put a casino in Ford Heights. Hell they can't even run their own town, let alone oversee gambling there. And oh yeah - who in the hell would want to go and frequent a casino there anyhow? But that's another story altogether.
The fact is - the watered down gaming legislation that Governor Pat Quinn would now approve has probably derailed much of the narrow support it once had among downstate lawmakers. Let's face it, there is a block of legislators who demand that any gambling expansion include slots for Illinois' fast fading Racing Industry. Of course I don't believe that adding slots at the racetracks will actually improve the climate for horseman, but hey they claim it would. Personally, I think the racing industry is all but dead here.
Heck, I used to be a frequent patron of the track myself but the quality of racing has diminished to the point that we are betting on mostly cheap horses. Not much there for the "Sport of Kings" if you know what I mean. Besides, given the many other options people have to part with their money I seriously doubt that the racing industry can reinvent themselves to cultivate another generation of hard-core patrons. And please, don't get me wrong either, I actually enjoy a day at the races and wish for those good old days to return, but they were different times too.
Sadly, horse racing's time has come and gone - at least in Illinois.
Of course gambling, in general, has seen a decline and much of it has to do with a smoldering economy and an already over-saturated gaming industry. There are just so many patrons and money to go around and that is something over zealous politicians seem to ignore. So I just can't see gaming as being the end all to be all to prop up our state's financial woes. Now I don't profess to know all, or any, of the answers. But I know this much - the climate just isn't right anymore for gaming expansion. While there might be a short term golden balloon when it comes to the licensing fees and an initial revenue spike, expansion in and of itself is unsustainable. And if we were to ambitiously expand gaming now, taxpayers would eventually be left holding the bag.
Perhaps the best thing to do now is to cut our losses and look for other avenues of economic development!
Then again - I wonder if that is even possible in Illinois?