Gov. Pat Quinn may have signed (Vending Times) Illinois' Video Gaming Act into law over the summer, but it appears as if state lawmakers' efforts to use video lottery terminals (VLTs) to help close the estimated $9 billion budget gap have hit a major snag.
More than two-dozen Illinois cities so far have passed ordinances banning video gambling for different reasons, but mostly in response to concerns about the role of organized crime in the VLT market voiced by the Chicago Crime Commission (PDF). The organization, joined by activists and a few elected officials, have organized in opposition to the video lottery law under the moniker Coalition Against Neighborhood Gambling.
The state is planning to put 45,000 video gambling machines throughout the state. Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer was quoted in the Chicago Crime Commission press release as saying she understands the need to raise revenue, but believes video gaming would only expand the reach of organized crime in the state.
"It is imperative that those charged with regulating video gambling in Illinois thoroughly understand that video poker has left a wake of crime and bankruptcy in every state that has legalized it."