Casinos need to get their act together
Chicago is planning to build at least one new casino possibly more. Hopefully the city will do a better job than Indiana which has the worst, dirtiest casinos in the Midwest. Government should put more restrictions on casinos and give more money back to the public
By Ray Hanania
For the past few decades, the casinos in Indiana have had it easy. Anyone who has been to them knows how crappy and miserable they are. But they are close, so people who forgo quality for convenience.
In recent years, the Indiana casinos have catered to the sleaziest, lowest class of players around. The penny slots are jam packed with people wearing flip flops, dirty halter tops and stink. The last Time I was there I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, always disappointed.
And I would kick myself trading quality for convenience is a bad move like taking a hit in Blackjack when the dealer is showing a 6 card. You assume the dealer has a picture card and has to take a card usually going over 21. That’s how you win.
But now they are talking about bringing casinos to Chicago. It’s about time. In response, Indiana is upgrading its casinos to keep their customers. But I feel so abused by Indiana, that I’m actually feeling Little glee that the pressure is on the, to Clean-Up and jazz up their act.
The point is that competition is always good. When there is none, the businesses do what they want, the minimal to get by. The casinos are the worst because their profits at e so high, so don’t feel sorry for them. They really don’t care about you. They care about money.
With Chicago stepping up to the plate, everyone is going to have to step up their act and improve. They’ll have to clean up and invest more in treating their customers better, improving the cleanliness f the casinos and imposing a dress code to filter out the penny slot player. And I’m not talking about the seniors who enjoy gambling more than the mob.
But the state should pass a law to require that casinos pay put 70 percent of the money that gets played to the players. Sound too tough. Too bad. They can loosen and tighten the slots to increase payouts. If we’re going to expand the casinos in Illinois and the Midwest, we should take control. And if the investors don’t like it, that’s tough. There will always be investors standing in line to buy into the casinos.
We need to ensure that the casinos don’t turn into the lottery or the tollway system, both poorly run systems set up to help the taxpayers. In the end, all the lottery does is push people to waste their extra spending and the money goes to pay the pension debt that cronyism created. The tollways are a burden that has failed to deliver, too. Nearly every six years we have to endure construction repairs that make the tollways, on average, slower than the original roads we had that they replaced.
If a tollway will improve drive times, the construction sets the average back five times. If a scientist wants to do the math, I’ll bet the numbers will prove me right.
So let’s do the casinos right. Make the majority of the money go back to the taxpayers through local governments. Give them more than what is being promised, and reduce the profits of the investors.
Every time government says they have come up with a way to offset increasing costs, the plans never really pan out. Worse, they still increase taxes. Illinois is the worst state wheat comes to taxes. We have the highest and broadest taxes in the country. And despite that horrible dubious achievement, we still can’t provide the services we need.
I don’t blame it on any individual politicians like the major media often asserts. It’s a culture of cronyism, pension abuse and greed that crosses the partisan divide. The trough doesn’t have a political party allegiance.
We can’t improve the corrupt systems that were put in place in the past, bu t we can make sure the systems we movement moving forward are done right. Wouldn’t it be nice if we end up building a few new casinos in Chicago and in one or two of the suburban areas that generate revenues that help all of the municipalities, not just that tax sinkhole called Chicago.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the money actually went to ease the tax burden on hardworking families, help seniors and support our healthcare system for the “real” poor, those who are physically or mentally disabled, sick, injured, or lack the ability to work. So many of the poor can work, but can’t find decent jobs or simply have figured out how to surf the system.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the people who could throw away their money on those one-armed bandits the casinos actually had a chance to win a little money, and do so in a clean environment that is enjoyable.
Well, we can always hope. Or, we can just wait our turn to find a way to escape from this rotten state that is being made even more rotten every day with new burdensome taxes.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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