Illinois residents are in support of opening more casinos in the state, according to a new survey. In a poll conducted by Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Institute of Public Policy, respondents weighed in on five options for new sources of state revenue-increasing or broadening the sales tax, expanding gambling, or taxing retirement income. Only gambling received a majority of support (52.7% in favor, 43.7% opposed), and SIU political scientist John Jackson isn’t surprised.
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“Sin taxes are always the easy out,” Jackson said. “Taxes on gambling, on liquor, and on cigarettes tend to be what state legislatures throughout the country tend to turn to, and they just don’t raise enough revenue. They wind up basically being too narrow.” The newest gambling proposal would create five new casinos, including a state-owned gaming facility in Chicago. State lawmakers will hold a public hearing on that potential expansion next month.