Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ban on Video Gambling Supported by The Chicago Crime Commission

The Chicago Crime Commission encouraged the DuPage County Board to ban video gambling machines in DuPage County. They warned that the long-term cost to society would far outweigh any short-term revenue gains if video gambling machines are installed. Law enforcement and other regulators would be left with a virtually uncontrollable situation.

"The decentralized nature of video gambling may soon turn Illinois into the 'Wild West' of gambling," said J.R. Davis, Chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission. "I would encourage DuPage County as well as municipalities and counties throughout the state to ban the video gambling machines before they are ever installed," he added.

"Video gambling has been called the crack cocaine of gaming for good reason. With the proliferation of video gambling, communities can expect to experience an increase in crime and a rise in other social ills connected with gambling expansion," he continued.

According to legislative analysis, about 66,000 video gambling machines may soon be scattered throughout communities in Illinois. While a law enforcement needs analysis is currently non-existent, Davis estimates Illinois will soon have to hire hundreds of new police and regulatory personnel to begin addressing the law enforcement requirement of this gambling expansion. "Unfortunately, I haven't heard anyone address this reality or speak to how these needs will be met," said Davis.

Davis also expressed concern that it would be difficult if not impossible to curb the influence of organized crime in this new, tough to regulate enterprise. "It is a fact that organized crime is known to gravitate towards gambling and other ancillary businesses," he continued.

Additionally, Davis said that the state's self exclusion program, which prohibits problem gamblers from entering casinos, would be left hobbled if video gambling proliferates in Illinois. "I have significant concern that entire families will be left penniless because Mom or Dad will be feeding their entire paycheck into the video poker machines," he concluded.

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