Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Contact Illinois State Senators to repeal video gambling

I received the following e-mail last week. Since it is time sensitive I’m posting it today. I don’t want to be cynical but I have my doubts about the motives for this proposal by the Democratic leader of the Senate. (I pray that I am wrong about his motives.) I don’t think he has suddenly seen the light. The original law allowing video gambling was passed a year plus ago. Since then, others laws have been proposed to increase gambling even more. The original law has recently been ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Appellate Court because the law contained more than one topic which is prohibited by the Constitution. A Peoria Journal Star editorial called it a procedural violation of the Illinois Constitution. I think this might be an attempt to make the court case moot by removing the most contentious portion of the original law.

That said, I’m all for ending video gambling as described in the original law. For that matter, I’m all for ending any and all forms of legalized gambling in the State of Illinois. However, it should be done Constitutionally. I’ve written before about “shell” bills and why they are unconstitutional. This proposal is also occurring through a “shell” bill. When is the Illinois General Assembly ever going to actually follow the Constitution of the State of Illinois?

The e-mail:

From: Illinois Family Institute http://www.illinoisfamily.org/

“IFI E-Alert: Support SB 17 to Repeal Video Gambling

by David E. Smith, IFI Executive Director -Illinois Family Institute

In 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law, a bill allowing liquor-serving establishments to have up to 5 video gambling machines. The bill was and continues to be highly controversial. The law allows cities and counties to pass ordinances banning video gambling machines. Eighty communities and counties have passed bans. Ironically, the city of Chicago already had such a ban.

Earlier this week, State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) announced


that he was introducing SB 17, a bill that would repeal the state’s troubled video gambling law.



to send your lawmakers an email or a fax to encourage them to support SB 17 to Repeal Video Gambling.


Video gambling is rightly called the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling. There’s no skill required, and studies have found that video gambling is highly addictive.”

“Illinois lawmakers are wrong to think that they can mitigate our state’s revenue shortfall by expanding predatory gambling. Moreover, it is morally indefensible for the State to approve, license and promote an industry that thrives on the exploitation of the citizens its constituted to serve. Creating thousands of citizen losers to create a revenue stream is terrible (and immoral—my addition) public policy.

Gambling addiction is linked to bankruptcy, home foreclosure, depression, and white-collar crime, all of which lead to family stress and can lead to domestic violence, divorce, and suicide. Playing these kinds of odds against your constituents is not good public policy.

Video gambling in our state is not worth the costs to the state in broken lives and shattered families. Please take a few minutes today to do this simple call to action.

Take Action


I did. Below is my e-mail to my State Senator:

Heading: “repeal of the law allowing liquor-serving establishments to have up to 5 video gambling machines”

Body of the e-mail: “I understand the repeal of this law is a possibility. When I checked the S.B. number that I was given, this looks like another “shell” bill which was the same method used to pass the law in the first place. I believe such action to be unconstitutional both as done originally and as now appears to be the process chosen to be used to repeal it.

I strongly support the repeal of this law. I do not support an unconstitutional method to do so. Let’s follow the Illinois Constitution and repeal this horrible law with three readings of the actual law over three days.

It’s way past time for the General Assembly to show the integrity that all citizens should demand from their elected (or appointed) representatives.”