Don't Bet on It
So we just got done with Rep. John Bradley's bill that would eliminate riverboat gaming in Illinois. After what was actually some interesting debate, the bill passed 67-42-7. Now I have a lot of respect for John but at the end of the day, I think that there's more going on here than even John may realize.
The reality is that we can't and won't blow a $700 million dollar hole in the budget. Back in 1989, the Legislature made a decision that would lead to us becoming dependent upon gaming revenues. And sure enough, that's now where we find ourselves. So any talk of eliminating riverboats without pointing to an alternative revenue stream has to strike one as somewhat disingenuous.
So what's really going on? I'm not sure, but one scenario could be that there will be an effort, not to eliminate riverboat gaming, but to void out the existing licenses in order to start over, auction off licenses, and actually wind up with an expansion of gaming. Given the millions of dollars invested by the license owners, you have to think that the litigation that is sure to result will make the Emerald stuff pale by comparison.
Obviously I'm just speculating about this scenario, but I don't think that I'm too far off base. I am sure that there will be more to come.