Illinois: Las Vegas of the Midwest?
By Michael Kleen
Back in May, a measure to expand gambling in Illinois was approved by a committee in the Illinois House of Representatives, provoking Governor Pat Quinn to remark, “We have no interest in becoming the Las Vegas of the Midwest.” Apparently content to continue his knee-jerk and misdirected gambling policy, I believe Governor Quinn is passing up yet another opportunity to attract business and expand freedom in Illinois. The question is, why not be the Las Vegas of the Midwest? Why not be a beacon of prosperity, tourism, and growth? More importantly, why not allow the citizens of Illinois the freedom to choose the kind of entertainment they want to enjoy?
Rather than continue to pursue piecemeal gaming regulation, I believe that most forms of gambling should simply be legalized with one piece of legislation. Currently, the gambling laws of Illinois are bewildering and if I were to read them to a stranger, he or she would think there was no sense to them whatsoever. For example, Illinois has a state-run lottery, and while land-based casinos are illegal, permanently docking a huge gambling barge in a river is not. Although I can walk into an off-track betting facility and put $2 to win on Mysunshine, it is illegal to make a bet with my friends over Sunday night football.