A group opposed to gambling is calling on state lawmakers to uphold the governor’s veto of the gambling expansion bill. The groups, including Common Cause and the Anti-Gambling Task Force, know that legislators could override the veto. They worry that casino interests will use their money to “strong-arm”legislators and buy their votes to override the veto.
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Rev. Phil Blackwell, a Methodist minister who’s against gambling, acknowledges that there must be more oversight, more transparency and a ban on political contributions from casino operators if a bill is ever to meet the governor’s standards. But he argues that the notion of building more casinos to create jobs is foolhardy. “There are more households destabilized by casinos than supported by casinos. By implication, more jobs stand to be lost than gained,” Blackwell said.
He points to 9,171 people in Illinois on the self-exclusion list while there are 7,789 casino employees. Of the 9,171, Blackwell says that represents only 4 percent of who should be excluded from gambling.
Lawmakers would need a three-fifths vote to override the veto.
The gambling expansion bill would create five new casinos and allow slot machines at racetracks.