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Illinois Bet on Video Gambling and Lost (propublica.org)
142 points by danso 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 191 comments

Hi all — I'm a reporter involved with this video gambling story at ProPublica Illinois. The story mentions video gambling addiction may be on the rise. We're looking to learn more about that directly from people affected by it. If you or someone you know compulsively plays the video slot or poker machines anywhere in the state, please consider answering a few confidential questions here: https://www.propublica.org/getinvolved/help-us-investigate-i...

By sharing your story, you'll be helping us understand this important and overlooked cost of video gambling expansion. Thank you!

-Logan Jaffe logan.jaffe@propublica.org

Logan I don't have names for you but this story is spot on, I hope the Trib and local news stations pick it up.

Video gambling is totally amok in many parts of Chicago and its environs.

For people who haven't seen it in person: even regular Mom & Pop restaurants have video slots. Donut shops. Italian sandwiches. Bars. Imagine if Subway devoted a quarter of its restaurants to video slots. It's crazy.

And watching the people who play these games it's obvious it's not rich people, it's most often (IMO) fixed-income retirees. People who can least afford it.

I'm for legalized gambling but what's going on in Illinois right now is totally bonkers. Legalizing video slots and putting them everywhere is the second dumbest idea in Illinois since Mayor Daley sold off some of the highways.

> I'm for legalized gambling

How do you prevent people who can't afford it from gambling when it's legal?

If you limit the number of places that can have the machines then it's less likely people will stumble upon them during day to day activity. People would have to deliberately drive to a casino to get them. Taxing higher also helps to reduce the number of places.

I’m for legalised gambling too.

You simply don’t. Not your problem. If an adult decides to gamble, it’s his decision and none of your business.

When he loses all his money and then needs welfare or starts mugging people it becomes my business.

And the solution is stand your ground law.

If I have to get into a gunfight on the street because banning gambling machines would be against “freedom” well I guess I’m not that into freedom.

It’s about deterrance. Hardly anyone is going to attempt anything funny if you might be packing.

You can have more restrictions around gambling to make it less addictive. Things like only allowing gambling in a small number of places, and limiting the size of the payouts, would help I would imagine, while still making illegal gambling less appealing.

By taxing it and providing resources like counseling for people with addictive behaviors.

It really is a blight. Everywhere you go (other than Chicago) there are sleazy-looking banners offering video gambling. Even unexpected places. Literally every strip mall I'm aware of has at least one, regardless of the income tier the strip mall targets. Even the mom & pop diner just off the highway now has its windows plastered with adverts for video slots and video poker.

Searching for video gambling will only turn up the dedicated establishments (it doesn't turn up that diner, nor many dozens of bars) but you can still see how ridiculous it is from searching any downstate community.


Here, the same chain has locations barely a thousand feet from one another, and they're not even the only dedicated dens in that immediate area.

Bar - doesnt show up when searching 'video gambling': https://www.google.com/maps/@40.117862,-88.2040812,3a,75y,97...

Family Diner - every window is now covered with gambling advertisements, but street view is from 2015, before they converted. Still useful for understanding how persvasive the spread is and the types of businesses that are converting to stay competetive. https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1329083,-88.2190425,3a,75y,6...

Forest Park (my home for less than a year now) voted to prohibit video gambling in November, two years after it had been voted in. I'm not sure what the impact has been, but perhaps it could serve as a model for other municipalities looking to do the same thing.


Welcome to the neighborhood. It's unlawful in neighboring Oak Park as well, but unfortunately fully legal in Berwyn.

Berwyn and Cicero have always been the spots to do sketchy stuff. It would be strange if that were to change now.


Is that a 90s Chicago talk radio reference? (I think it is?)

Svengoolie, if I remember right.

Also known as Son of Svengoolie. The original Svengoolie retired in the 70s. I don't recall BERWIN being a bit back then (though that was terribly long ago).

I suspect, though I have no proof, that he at least partially inspired the Joe Flaherty SCTV character Count Floyd/Floyd Robinson.

Actually, Rick Koz is the original and current Son of Svengoolie character. He's been on two or three different stations since the 70's I think, but it's the same guy.

Jerry Bishop played the character in its original run. Way up on channel 32. Wiki says 1970-1973.


Jerry Bishop (the original Svengoolie) started the BERWYN gag.

Oh, wow, I had no idea. Glad I asked.

Out where I'm at in Campton Hills we're seeing business owners asking for the ban to be lifted. I hope it isn't:


I can imagine they are. The owner of a reasonably busy restaurant/bar in my hometown said he makes more on the little slot corner per month than he does selling food. It's insane. And you know it's not the people with loads of money laying around losing their money to them.

The owner of a reasonably busy restaurant/bar in my hometown said he makes more on the little slot corner per month than he does selling food.

That's the reason that every† bar, gas station, even supermarket in Nevada has a slot parlor.

I see these people playing slot machines at Albertson's and just shake my head.

† Except Boulder City, the one place in Nevada where gambling is illegal.

I know the owner of a relatively large family-run restaurant, and apparently the few video slot machines they have in a small back room make more profit than the food.

well, food's always been a looser, it spoils and has to be well prepared. drinks on the other hand. . .. If you're not selling vices on the side, you're doing it the hard way.

Vices! That could be anything

it is, smokes, gambling, huka, beer, soda, weed, even caffine to some extent. <- none of that shit goes bad. You see this in super expensive places in cities. Everything is a bar or weed store, because the margins just don't allow people to sell only food and still pay rent.

A good rule of thumb is that if an establishment is based on a name (like "Penny's" or "Dotty's") and doesn't have any other indication of what its business is (and obviously isn't a bar), then it's a gambling joint.

Sounds like they've turned Illinois into a circle of hell, but I'm not sure which one.

Video gambling didn't turn Illinois in a circle of hell - Chicago politics turned the entire state into a circle of hell. Probably a good 90-95% geographically in Illinois would love to kick Chicago/Cook County out of the state.

The Chicagoland metro makes up 75% of Illinois' population. Illinois would just be a corn colony without Chicago. But I will agree with you that Illinois is, politically speaking, a mismanaged dumpster fire and has been for decades in large part due to the Chicago-style patronage system.

Thanks, now I understand what all those "Debby's" storefronts were when I visited my hometown over the holidays.

a fellow urbana-ite?

Emma’s/lacys/etc was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this headline- they are everywhere.

I’m a little west of you (BloNo), and there are quite a few named “Emma’s Place” here. I only noticed because that’s my daughter’s name and she was a bit fascinated at first, until I told her what they were.

On an unrelated note, as a non-American, it's stunning to see how wide those roads are, how big those parkings are, and the amount of SUVs and pickup trucks. I mean, that's kind of the American stereotype, but it calls my attention to see that it's actually true. (Speaking about the last link in particular.)

Keep in mind that restaurant is on the outskirts of Urbana and footsteps away from I-74 in a very rural part of Illinois. It's a college town, but that's a couple miles away from the campus.

Most Illinoisans live in or around Chicago. Chicago has big streets too, but does not look like Urbana:


Heh - i actually live near there! The video gambling definitely has fizzed out rather than exploding. The beginnings of the charts & data show exponential growth at first but things got linear. When this first happened of course I would throw in a few bucks when out for a beer with my pops or whatever. Occasionally you double your 20 bucks or whatever and can buy the next round of drinks. However, it's not too popular and most people arent really interested.

Legalized sports betting in real time however would be different. I'm not a big gambler but love sports and analytics. Could definitely see myself throwing some money here or there. It's pretty easy to bet against the bulls / white sox / blackhawks right now, they all suck ass.

That particular restaurant has a larger parking lot than most restaurants its size due to its location literally adjacent to the interstate highway.

The nearby road is an artery that connects to the interstate; most roads are not the 5-total-lane configuration (though that is indeed the most common configuration for major thoroughfares).

A fair comparison to tptacek's example of Chicago residential streets would be more like: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1148295,-88.2320852,3a,75y,1... or perhaps https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1114168,-88.2121028,3a,75y,2...

Or a look at the dense commercial zone supported by the University of Illinois campus: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1102513,-88.2296903,3a,75y,4...

That said, SUVs are now more purchased than sedans, and scenes like https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1102414,-88.230319,3a,15y,34... are the norm.

The prevalence of busses in street views of Urbana should also be considered unusual. Because of the university, Champaign-Urbana has an exceptional (for the US) bus service. It only takes 30 minutes to travel 3 miles (5 km), with only a 30 minute wait between pickups: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Springfield+%26+Kenwood+(SE+...

Regarding parking lots, everything from https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1172443,-88.205592,3a,75y,31... to more dense 'downtown' areas like https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1177271,-88.2417685,3a,75y,1... are typical.

Quote "At every key point, state officials made decisions that undercut taxpayers and helped the companies that market video gambling"

And that is one reason why I left Chicago. Both city and state are corrupt. I remember receiving an automated ticket for running a stoplight on a date when I wasn't even in Chicago.

I got a ticket for running a light in Chicago, but because I was from out of state, it took them 'extra long' to send me the ticket in the mail (their words when I called). By the time they had mailed me the ticket, the deadline to pay had already passed and the fine had doubled.

Something like this happened to me as well.

I skipped a toll station on the highway; which should be fine. A sign tells you that you can pay online within 7 days by searching your license plate. The next day I searched my license plate to pay what should have been $3-$4 in tolls and nothing came up. A month later I got a letter in the mail telling me that I owed the state around $100 for the tolls I "failed to pay" with nearly $90 assessed in late fees. The whole system is scummy.

Literal highway robbery.

I had a similar issue after moving from Illinois to Wisconsin and getting new plates - but forgetting to update the plates within I-Pass. (So, I had a valid I-Pass, it was just on the same old car with new plates.)

A few years later I received a collections notice for $1,400 for ~$30 worth of tolls. (This was the first notice they'd sent me. No one could explain why.)

After spending hours on the phone with I-Pass the best they could do was reduce the fine to $300 while making the snarky offer that I could go to court if I didn't like it.

This was effectively a customer service issue (I was a valid customer in good standing), and I still wound up paying 10x the actual cost just to avoid missing work and traveling.

As an Illinois resident, I had a different experience dealing with I-Pass issues. Apparently my card on file expired, so they couldn't refill my account. By the time I realized a week or so after noticing that I was getting the yellow light and not blue, I updated the card, paid the outstanding tolls. A month later, I get a fine notice for like $500. I called customer service. Took about 90 minutes on hold, but once I got a hold of someone, the gal was very pleasant, took a look at my account, said something along the lines of "Your accounts in good standing, I'll cancel the fines." Never heard another peep about it. Also one of the few times I asked to speak with her manager to let the manager how happy I was with the service (rare for a government employee).

Worth mentioning the ipass (and tollway) phone lines are actually handled by a group that helps people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veterans. I have never had a bad experience with calling in.

I was not aware of that. Good to know.

That's horrible.

They really do make it much harder than it needs to be. I was in Colorado on vacation and accidentally ran a toll at night. Just got a bill a couple weeks later for the exact amount of the toll with no fine. No reason it can't be like that in Illinois.

Having used the IPass online payment system multiple times, it sounds like you did not read warnings on the website.

On the online website, it says the search feature does not show the violations immediately and you should not rely on it.

     "The optimal timeframe for a successful search is the second and third weeks following the missed toll. Many missed tolls will not appear until one week after they were incurred due to the need to review the images of the license plate."

 Instead you should select the tolls you missed manually and then paying them. I have done this numerous time, noting the toll and time I missed and have never received a violation after I paid it online. 
I have also used the search feature one week after I missed the toll and all of my missed tolls appeared.

It's unfortunate that you had to pay a fine but you shouldn't blame the state for your errors.

Assessing a $90 late fee on a $4 debt is something we would be livid about if it were a credit card company. The state is literally robbing people here because they are corrupt, bankrupt, and desperate. I think it's despicable.

>you shouldn't blame the state for your errors

And what's the technological reason behind there being a four week lag in the data being available? I can't think of a good one. I'm sure there's cell signal where the ANPR cameras are based.

If I was cynical, I'd go as far as to suggest the system is _engineered_ to encourage users to forget to check back at the correct time, even if they had attempted to pay at the first opportunity.

It's exactly the same as financial technology. Is there any technological reason why transactions shouldn't appear as soon as the authorisation takes place? No. It's poor because the incumbents can get away with it being poor.

Hopefully you didn't pay it if you got screwed with those cams. Which you probably did.

By the time I got the mail I honestly couldn't even remember it. I would have had to go back to Chicago to fight it in court, and the fine would have doubled again if I didn't pay, so I basically bit the bullet after trying to argue with them to cut me slack on the late fee (they didn't).

I didn't mean fight it in court, I meant simply not pay it. Throw it in the trash and call it settled.

Then they can file a bench warrant for your arrest, right?

Yep. A related story about the sleaze in Chicago - Around 10 years ago, I received a parking ticket on a street, at a part where they had no parking meters! Part of the street had meters, I pulled up to a slot and noticed it had no meter. One week later, I got a 50 dollar ticket. There was no way I could know whether the parking slot was free or not, since I was just visiting and not a Chicago resident.

Later I came to know that the city of Chicago was undergoing a dubious parking privatization initiative round about then.

I can beat that one :) My car was stolen in 2001. I lived on the north side, off of the lake (Uptown - not the best, but not the worst part of the city). I reported it stolen. In 2002 I got a parking ticket by mail from the far west side of the city, where I've never been to this day.

This was in the paper ticket era.

In Houston I had a car stolen from a dealership after I traded it in. The thieves took it on a joyride, blowing through pretty much every toll plaza in the region.

When I got a bill in the mail from the Toll Road Authority, all it took was a five minute phone call to clear it up. No paperwork or anything needed. The toll people said they'd confirm with the dealership and take care of everything.

I don't miss Houston. But I miss the people of Houston.

I got a new license plate for a car I had just bought. 2 weeks later I got ~30 tickets in the mail going back 5 years. Apparently they had been misentered and just sat in some queue waiting for that plate number to go live.

That’s just another reason why Chicago’s population is lower today than 25 years ago, and Illinois has lost population for five years straight. Corruption and bad policies are rampant, so why start a business or stay there if you can leave?

Chicago's population has been relatively stable over the last 25 years.

Reason its lost population since the 1950s is white flight and deindustrialization, but it's recovered better than any other industrial rust belt city.

The white collar business sector of the economy here is booming, so chicago is a complicated city with a complicated history

Chicago's population has been relatively stable over the last 25 years

Wikipedia disagrees with you:

1980 3,005,072 −10.7%

1990 2,783,911 −7.4%

2000 2,896,016 4.0%

2010 2,695,598

The white collar business sector of the economy here is booming

Which is great for The Loop, and adjacent areas. But there are 50 neighborhoods in Chicago, and most are seeing population decline.

Chicago's population decline is also a complicated thing. The population might be going down, but demand for housing is high, and rents and home prices are increasing rapidly.

My sense is that what's really going on is that working class families are being pushed out to the suburbs by affluent but childless people.

In my neighborhood, they're building new high-end condo and apartment buildings left and right, but at the same time over 90% of kids in our school qualify as low income, and enrollment is decreasing rapidly. The playground across the street used to be full of kids all summer, but that's changing. The families on my block have steadily been moving out, because people are getting priced out.

When a family of 5 moves out in response to a rent hike, and is replaced by a couple 20somethings with financial sector jobs, that's a net population change of -3. But it's not because people are falling over themselves to get out of the city.

1980 and 1990 were both more than 25 years ago. Wikipedia puts the 2017 estimate at 2,716,450, which is roughly the same as the 1990 numbers.

Well show the entire metro area.

People moving to the burbs lower the city pop but raise the burb.

That said, I personally moved from Chicago to Indiana. Some stuff better, some stuff worse.

Where in Indiana? What are the pros & cons?

South Bend for me!

Pros: * Lower cost of living (think 3 bedroom house for 100k)

* Low tax rate (Chicago tax adds up)

* I can literally drive in my car to any chain store within 7 minutes. Chicago I could get to most stuff, but it was 30, 45, 60 minute drives.

* Can commute anywhere within about 20 minutes, Chicago it's not hard to get 60-90 minute commutes

* Decent state level programs to help startups (I found some decent programs from the state of Indiana to help!)

Cons: * Sometimes harder to find niche something. I.e. if you want to play board game X wit ha weekly meetup, I bet you can find 3 in Chicago. Here no one may play that thing. Or if you want to eat Vegan X... odds are it doesn't exist (but Chicago has 2+)

* Local community is still not ready to support startups. For example - The city claims to be tech friendly - but their programs are either for factories or farms. Not a factory or farm? City can't really help.

* Walkability sucks for most of the area. There are a few pockets, but not that many

* Smaller pool of applications for career motivated developer / other niche fields. I am sure I can get 1000 resumes for forklift driver, but I might only get 20 for Java developer.

why start a business or stay there if you can leave?

A lot of people will roll their eyes at this notion, insisting that companies don't leave cities because of corruption, but it happens.

I worked for a company that left Chicago for Seattle around 2009 for two reasons: Taxes, and the fear of growing large enough to be shaken down by the local pols.

You're not wrong, but your point is incoherent. Chicago is the one part of the state that didn't legalize video gambling.

Which non-corrupt city and state did you move to?

Are you asking in good faith, or as a setup to respond how parent's choice is just as corrupt? I ask because parent didn't say they moved to a non-corrupt jurisdiction, they just said they moved away from Chicago.

Pedantry aside, if parent's answer is "someplace other than Chicago", then they're probably better off. That place has been a cesspool of corruption, both state and city, since I was a kid; and I'm not young.

Yeah, I mean, fine. Chicago's corrupt, I guess, but I've lived there 10 years and it's not like the alderman is shaking me down for protection money or whatever. Every city has advantages and disadvantages.

I'd defy you to show me another actual city (def: "owning a car is optional") in the US where my money goes anywhere near as far despite the high taxes and corruption. Do that and I'll move, but until then I'm going to sit tight and enjoy my deep dish pizza.

> it's not like the alderman is shaking me down for protection money or whatever.

I guess you don't own a Burger King :)

Reference: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-al...

I've been all over. They're all corrupt.

I've been all over as well. You are correct, they all are corrupt. That said, we generally don't care about the corruption in other places.

For instance, I recently learned that Pennsylvania has a problem with corrupt DA's the same as Wisconsin does. Now I know. Now I lament the situation of people in Pennsylvania. But all that said, I'm from Wisconsin, so I'm a little more concerned about the bent DA's we have here.

Maybe the original comment was posted by someone from Chicago? In which case, why would he care about corruption elsewhere? For instance, why would he care that people in Wisconsin are out 4 to 5 billion bucks for a Foxconn factory? Yes, he may lament our situation. He might even get a little upset by it when he hears about it on the news...

but in the end, Chicago is his concern, not some local-yokels in up in Fond du Lac, Cambria or Superior.

Whereas for me, it's infuriating maybe in the same way that all the parking tickets people are talking about seem to infuriate people from Chicago.

The point is that moving from one place because of corruption won't necessarily save you from corruption.

Clearly a false point considering how many people immigrate around the world from countries with high corruption to low corruption. There are definitely places in the US where you can enjoy a higher standard of living than Chicago due to local and state government being less corrupt.

And it’s going to get worse. You would be going against basic arithmetic to say the cash flow situations of states like IL/NJ/CT/KY won’t lead to more and more corruption, barring any unforeseen wealth from natural resources bailing them out.

Add WI and KS to the list.

(Although I suppose Kansas is already long part the "getting worse" part. They've got serious financial issues.)

That said, I do think that moorhosj is right. Moving somewhere and expecting there to be no corruption is a bit of a fool's errand. I could move away from Wisconsin. Lots of people do, even a lot of childhood friends. Here's the thing though, there really is no other place that will allow me completely corruption free living. Maybe they don't steal as much from you when you're in Nebraska or Washington state as they do when you're in Wisconsin, but I find it difficult to believe that no corruption at all is happening in other places.

(And the laments of my childhood friends who have moved, kind of validate that view for me.)

==There are definitely places in the US where you can enjoy a higher standard of living than Chicago due to local and state government being less corrupt.==

Please name the cities with comparable career opportunities and higher standard of living.

Cities in league with Chicago would be NYC/SFO/LAX/SEA/ATL/BOS/DC, and maybe after that DEN/PDX/AUS/BNA/TPA/MSP.

Chicago is good for many careers, but for how much longer, and how much are people willing to deal with Chicago's weather? It does have a huge source of fresh water though, so that is definitely a plus. But while growth is happening mostly in the West and South:


Who knows, maybe the pros of Chicago outweigh the cons if you're in commodities trading or whatnot, but for many in the top 20%, I don't think they would suffer career wise in many other places where the tax burdens aren't so severe.

==Cities in league with Chicago would be NYC/SFO/LAX/SEA/ATL/BOS/DC==

All of these cities, except Atlanta, are considerably more expensive than Chicago. Worth noting that Atlanta has 486k residents and Chicago has 2.7 million.

==Chicago is good for many careers, but for how much longer==

I think your perspective is a little outdated. Cost-of-living growth in Seattle, San Fran and NYC has made Chicago a much more attractive destination for tech companies:

"Data from real estate firm CBRE shows that Chicago was the second most popular destination for companies based in the Bay Area, Seattle, Boston and New York to open new office space, behind only Austin." [1]

Don't forget the world-renowned universities graduating boatloads of CS majors:

"One out of 10 computer science degrees in the nation comes from Illinois colleges and universities, according to the index. California is the only state that churns out more." [2]

==and how much are people willing to deal with Chicago's weather?==

But Boston and Minneapolis make your list? If anything, climate change will make Chicago more attractive over the next 30 years.

==or many in the top 20%, I don't think they would suffer career wise in many other places where the tax burdens aren't so severe. ==

The fastest growing demographic in Chicago is households making over $100k. The region is also quickly growing higher income levels:

"Cook County, which includes the county seat of Chicago, is home to the No. 1 and No. 7 fastest-growing concentrations of $200,000-plus households." [3]

I certainly have a bias towards Chicago, but your points just don't really bear out in the data.

[1] https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/inno-news-chicago/despi...

[2] http://www.govtech.com/education/news/-Illinois-Second-Only-...

[3] https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/americans-earning-ov...

I know what you are getting out but I would like to remind you that US corruption is nothing compared to parts of the world where it is expected to have to give the police cash when they pull you over.

Nobody in those other countries praises their government as if it were the best out of all others.

It doesn't have to be non-corrupt to be less corrupt than Chicago, Illinois. Every big city has some corruption in it, naturally, but Chicago takes it to a whole 'nother level.

After Chicago, I went north into Wisconsin, which was fine at the time. From there, I went south, to a state which still reminds me of downstate Illinois, but without the political counterweight of a major metropolis to rein in the dumb ideas. And whenever visiting Wisconsin now, it seems like they're becoming just as bad.

Rust belt states are rusting. As the factories go, the vicious and predatory all backstab each other in an attempt to get first gnaw at the bones and offal. The endemic levels of corruption were only sustainable over widespread economic prosperity, but that's gone. People with steadily declining real purchasing power since 1980 have less to steal or swindle, are far quicker to bleed dry, and quicker to quibble over their remaining pennies.

Federal leadership could probably turn the rust belt around, if that were a priority, but, well, you know... if a Democratic president with political roots in Chicago couldn't or wouldn't do it, there's not much of a chance of it happening now.

==Federal leadership could probably turn the rust belt around, if that were a priority, but, well, you know... if a Democratic president with political roots in Chicago couldn't or wouldn't do it, there's not much of a chance of it happening now. ==

I couldn't agree more. I strongly believe there should be a Marshall Plan for the Rust Belt. It should probably be a part of the Green New Deal, especially if climate change will impact migration patterns.

If you look at the most violent cities in the country, it is dominated by Rust Belt cities (Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cleveland). If we are looking for a national emergency, this might qualify.

Your Marshall Plan for the rust belt is to take money from other taxpayers in the country and give it to... the most corrupt governments in the country?

That's an odd interpretation with considerable bad-faith assumptions. The plan is to take federal money and use it to help re-build large portions of the country that include valuable industries and have been completely neglected.

Funny enough, most Rust Belt states are net payers to the Federal Government [1]. Illinois, the "corrupt state" everyone wants to rail on, is one of the least dependent on Federal money in the entire country. They get $0.75 back for every dollar of taxes sent to the Feds [2]. For comparison, Mississippi gets $2.02 for every dollar in Federal taxes.

Please explain how they would be "taking money from other taxpayers" under this plan?

[1] https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the...

[2] https://files.taxfoundation.org/legacy/docs/ftsbs-timeseries...

Thus it would likely suffice to just use federal prosecutions to burn the corruption out of the local governments, remove the legacies of past corruption, and let the remaining citizens try again from scratch.

There's plenty of economic activity still there, enough to support a new government. But that can't govern if 105% of its budget is still going to pay off the contracts and covenants put in place by the old, corrupt government. Illinois has already proven willing to send its own governors to prison, so imagine what could be accomplished without the constraint that the investigation has to end before it traces all the way back to the investigators.

==Thus it would likely suffice to just use federal prosecutions to burn the corruption out of the local governments, remove the legacies of past corruption, and let the remaining citizens try again from scratch.==

What is this based on?

Why isn't the solution to use federal investigators to determine why certain states aren't paying enough taxes to cover their costs? That sounds kind of "corrupt" to me.

Probably because federal funds go out mainly according to population counts, and taxes come in based on who makes the most money.

The places that spend more taxes than they remit are either too poor to pay more tax, or they have relentlessly selfish representatives that won't vote yes on anything unless it also includes a job for their district. It's pretty easy to tell the difference.

==Probably because federal funds go out mainly according to population counts==

This isn't true at all. California, Texas, New York and Illinois are 4 of the 6 largest states by population and all of them pay more in taxes then they receive back from the government.

==they have relentlessly selfish representatives that won't vote yes on anything unless it also includes a job for their district.==

Is this not a form of corruption?

> the most corrupt governments in the country?

The evidence that the Rust Belt states are the most corrupt is... where, again?


For what it's worth, ProPublica Illinois has also been looking at tickets (though just parking, not speeding/camera tickets, at least not yet).


I mean, they literally send you a video of your car running the stoplight. If you weren’t in Chicago, your car was.

Is "I mean" a common preamble in Chicago/Illinois? The reason I ask is that I've seen 2 other comments that start with "I mean."

Yes, it is. It’s a common preface for a counter argument, and is perceived (or at least intended to be perceived) as being politer/less argumentative while pointing out a (presumes) flaw in the original argument or defense.

Also used to make what is considered a very obvious rebuttal to the original argument.

This is a relatively new trend I've observed in recent years.

I've lived in IL decades ago, nobody started sentences with "I mean" unless they were clarifying what they last said.

People have started doing it here in CA as well, it's not unique to IL and it's not a long-established pattern.

As far as I can tell, it's basically the new "uhhh" people would use to stall as they organize their thoughts. What surprises me is how habitual it has become, to the extent that people now start written sentences with "I mean" when they're not clarifying anything at all.

So* , I grew up in Texas and the "I mean" prefix goes back in my schooling years as far as I can remember. Though it usually is coupled with a bitchy attitude like the rhetorical "You do realize $X, right?"

* I'd say if there's a new one, it's the annoying "So" prefix. Mark Zuckerberg says it a lot. Common on HN as well. And the usage I'm referring to, like "I mean", is when it doesn't call back to anything and could be removed without consequence.

It was common in Central Illinois high schools (Springfield) in the early 2000s.

Similar age here, but west chicago suburbs (Naperville). People overused "Like" a lot back then, but I see that today among teens in CA as well but it's more of a valley girl thing. I don't remember "I mean..." lead-ins as being overused, maybe I've just forgotten. Teens aren't exactly known for using language correctly though, I give the kids a pass.

One of my IL buddies moved out here a years ago and has started saying it recently after a starting new startup job he shares with a bunch of millenials. He never used to do it, now half his sentences start with a long drawn out "I meeeaaaaan," and it makes me want to gouge my eyes out whenever we socialize. Grown man in his 40s starting half his sentences with something equivalent to "Uhhhhhhhhhhh", no pass, FML.

The shear absurdity of trying to fund anything beyond pet projects using gambling taxes should be clear to anyone.

This is pretty much a privatized tax collection for deliberately preying on the weak.

I mean do the reverse math, if gambling revenue had met expectation, how much money would the poor have had to burn on gambling?

I am in support of legalized gambling but the way it is done in states like Illinois and New York (my state) just preys on problem gamblers and is indeed a money grab by the state.

The arguments for making gambling illegal or restricted in these states are all nullified by the state running them. They offer games with bad odds, in poor facilities. New York sued daily fantasy sites saying it is "dangerous and addictive" but then reeled that all back once they agreed to get a cut of the action.

I used to work for my uncle who had video games, pinballs and video slots. It was semi-regulated years ago but then more rigidly controlled. And yes there people who ranged from addicted to casual as were the drinkers at the bar.

It's not the machine it's the thrill though. MY uncle was contacted by a man's wife who said he dumped his entire paycheque into the slots. My uncle took a slot machine to the man's house, set it for free play but the man was not interested in that. The devices people use for gambling slots, dice, cards, don't matter it's not what it is it's the result people desire.

I've seen people win $100,000 get it in cash and dump it all back in and be happy. Or others who spend $1,000 to win a $50 bonus pot, a very common thing.

I can even somewhat tell what models of slots are in the picture in the article shows a (left) IGT/Spielo Prodigi VU, (middle)a WMS BB2 and (right) a Bally AP-1 V32.

>It's not the machine it's the thrill though. [...] set it for free play but the man was not interested in that.

In my humble layman's opinion it's the risk taking. There's no risk in playing a free machine and there's no reward since it won't pay anything.

Just a statistical nit: the article states that there are more non-casino video gaming machines in Illinois than in any other state in the country, including Nevada. While that's true in absolute terms (based on ProPublica's figures from this article) the opposite is true in per-capita terms. There are more machines in Illinois than in Nevada, but there are also more people in Illinois than Nevada by a factor of 4, and, consulting the table in the article, you'll see that there are not 4 times more machines in Illinois. In fact, per-capita, according to this table, Illinois ranks last, not first.

(I agree with I think most of this thread that these things are a blight.)

What happens to that statistic if you subtract the areas where this is not legal (the entire city of Chicago - actually looks like all of Cook County, and I haven't seen any of these machines inside the county)? My guess would be that stat goes up quite a bit.

There's video gambling in some of the southwest suburbs. Palos Hills, Orland Park. Those are both Cook.

Good to know! Hard to tell from their map and I didn't remember any county-wide ordinances. Thanks.

Also in Berwyn, which is almost (by a couple blocks) adjacent to the city.

Which are both hard to get to without public transport that one sees in Chicago proper (PACE barely counts). A lot of folks in the city don’t own a car. At the same time those same folks are probably smarter than to spend money at gambling parlors.

Once again: you can get to Berwyn via the Blue or Pink lines, as well as Cicero, which is directly adjacent to Chicago. Both allow video gaming. Both are decidedly middle/lower-middle class areas. It's just not the case that video gaming isn't present in Chicagoland.

palos and orland are pretty reachable by metra, though the times aren't ideal. Once you're there my memory is that it's walkable enough to a bar with gambling. It'd also be like a $5 uber/lyft from the metra.

My suspicion is that urban gamblers mostly take the blue line to the shuttle to Rivers.

Horseshoe runs something like hourly shuttles to Chinatown.

We definitely have them in the northwest suburbs, most of which are inside of Cook County. I still think that is a good question to ask given Chicago has around 3 million residents.

In a kind of dark way, this is great news. It will be useful for other states, as well as the city of Chicago, to have an example use case for NOT legalizing video lottery.

Maybe we can prohibit drinking and drugs eventually, too!

Sensing this is sarcasm relating to the restriction of freedom of choice, and would like to address it in a couple ways that might provide a different perspective.

The point isn't that gambling shouldn't be legal anywhere; it's that the current state of the government is unable to properly handle the social and financial oversight and fallout in regards to taking such immense measures. Compared to other state's tax rates, there is no reason why Illinois should be on the low (30%) end.

>the Video Gaming Act allocates just 5 percent of the revenue from the machines to local governments, even though they shoulder the bulk of the social costs related to gambling

Think about that - it's crazy. Five. Percent. Sometimes it is worth restricting the freedoms of individuals if they have a large net detrimental affect on society. At five percent they most certainly do. The majority of said society should decide whether restrictions are to be redacted, not a handful of politicians who live in the pockets of lobbyists.

Heck, even gas stations around my area have signs stating "VIDEO GAMING" like it will draw in patrons with nothing better to do. The convenience shop down the street from me (Chicago outskirts) routinely has people occupying seats and looking dejected, but not actually playing any of the gambling games when I'm there.

I don't like the term "Video Gaming". I play video games. I'm a bit of a gamer. But I am in no way any sort of gambler. Conflating the two makes one look less a dangerous vice, the other more of one. Video games and gambling terminals are totally different things.

(Yes, the lootbox debate, but you know of what I speak).

gaming has included gambling since gambling was invented.

gam·ing /ˈɡāmiNG/ noun

1. the action or practice of playing gambling games. "gaming is evident everywhere in Las Vegas, not just on the Strip"

2. the action or practice of playing video games. "I'm fourteen years old and enjoy gaming and playing baseball"

"gaming" has long included gambling, but "video gaming" has only recently included gambling, in the popular lexicon, anyway (no doubt you can dig up an obscure reference from long ago; law of averages and all that).

Video gambling has been around a long time. Greasy spoon/truck stop diner my family frequented as a kid some 30 years ago had video poker & keno. And they weren't hidden away in a corner - they were right there in the dining area.

Sure, but that doesn’t contradict one word of my post. I suspect you’re trying to make the argument I preemptively rebutted with my “law of averages” reference.

I once signed up for a course on "gaming law". I thought it might have something to do with gaming or gambling. I was wrong. "Gaming Law" was all about the relationship of native tribes and the US government. I still got the CLE credits.

Wait why is it called gaming law then?

In much of the US, native tribes are allowed to operate casinos on their territories. This has become a principal source of income for many tribes/nations.

The issue is that while native tribes are normally regulated at the federal level (they signed treaties with the US government) gambling is something normally regulated at the state level. So there are all sorts of constitutional issues re who can set rules governing casinos. It isn't really about a corporation or person being regulated by a representative government. It is about one government, the tribe, and its relationship with various host governments (US Fed, states, cities etc). A very different dynamic.

I watched this a year or so ago, it might have been on YouTube but got taken down


It's a documentary about video gambling machines in Australia, quite eye opening to say the least....

The knock-on effects from this poorly considered legislation are ridiculous:

The legalization of video gambling also triggered another shift in the state’s revenues, one that led to a drop in education funding. While the bulk of video gambling revenue goes to fund Illinois Jobs Now!, most of the state’s casino revenue flows into the Education Assistance Fund, which provides grants to public elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities for building projects and other expenses.

But when video gambling became legal, gamblers no longer had to travel to the state’s 10 casinos to place a bet. Between 2013 and 2017, state revenue from casinos in Illinois declined 15 percent, from $462 million to $393 million, as income from video gambling machines grew nearly 900 percent, from $30 million to $300 million, state records show.

The cannibalization of casino revenue contributed to a 22 percent decline in the amount of money going to the Education Assistance Fund between 2013 and 2017, leaving fewer dollars for the state’s struggling schools.

Seems more like a tax distribution problem than anything else. Casino revenues went down $69 million, but video gambling revenue went up $270 million. Seems like a good deal tax wise.

Also, the bottom line is that these sorts of "solutions" are just a way to increase the pool of discretionary spending funds. Dedicated revenue sources almost always seem like a way for the state to pass an unpalatable vice product (legalized pot or gambling being two big ones recently) to the citizens. "Hey, you're going to have people gambling in your back yard, but it's for the kids! Please don't notice that while the gambling generates an extra X million, we also cut X million from the general fund allocation to the same expense"

TL;dr- I'm fine with this stuff being legalized, but this helps demonstrate the possible backfiring with the feel good optics often tied to this sort of thing.

I can kind of understand how people get addicted to Video games, spending all their days and nights behind a screen. I dont understand how you can do the same feeding money into a random machine with flashing lights and nice sounds non stop.

You will be interested in this NY Times article from 2004:


I suspect a lot of the techniques mentioned in the article made their way from slot machine design into mobile games.

Wow maybe I'm out of touch.

I'm a trustee on the board of a very small village in Illinois. There was a vote to allow the gaming before I got on the board, and only one vote since then to approve a new license for an establishment. I argued the income-vs-sleaze ratio was lousy, but was out-voted. I wish I'd had this article and its facts to back up my more emotional reasoning for not liking it.

Video gambling is indeed a blight, even if it is profitable, but this article only makes it more depressing to see just how worthless (or actively punitive) it is to all but the companies that apparently wrote the original legislation.

I lived in Capital City / a Central Illinois for a year, and I was blown away with how many establishments hosted gambling video games. Granted, most bars were divey, but even the ones that weren't (i.e. the nice bars in town) still keep a little section in the corner that looks like a degenerate's arcade.

I should also mention that housing is _cheap_ in this area. I'm talking 2br1ba house with garage and front/back yard, one mile from downtown for $600. So, renting a large commercial property was likely cheap as well.

While there are clearly communities where this is a problem, I've lived in Chicago, now I live in the suburbs and still work downtown, and honestly outside of OTB and the Casinos, have never actually seen a video gambling machine in Illinois. So, this is not a state wide blight, but more of an isolated problem in various places.

As noted in the article, you most likely live in an affluent suburb. They don't have these things in Lake Forest or Barrington. On my way to work, on a short strip of road that runs through Hoffman Estates there are two Shelby's within a 1000 ft of each other. They are almost always empty apart from one or two patrons, yet they have been there for a couple of years now - I assume the few problem gamblers in the immediate area are literally supporting these places. Even if they were generating significant revenue for their municipalities, the whole enterprise is immoral.

The main east-west street corridors through the outer west burbs (Lake St, North Ave, Roosevelt Rd, etc) are choked with them. Addison for example has one every 5 feet.

Perhaps that's related to the fact (from the article) that video gambling remains illegal in Chicago?

I left the state before the gambling and concealed carry changes took place.

My last visit was approx two years ago and it was impressive how much worse everything seemed to be. Highway rest stops with "no firearms" stickers affixed to their glass doors, the highly visible kind with a red circle and diagonal stripe over a black pistol. Those stickers are all over the place now, it felt like I must be surrounded by lethal weapons, what a miserable way to live.

The prolific gambling dens and video gambling machines just made everywhere feel like an urban ghetto wasteland on top of it.

I'm thrilled to have escaped before it got so much worse. The corruption was already exceptionally bad. The monetary costs and stress I endured throughout my adult years spent there on police encounters, traffic fines, parking tickets, towing fees, it's completely insane.

Living in CA is an absolute dream in comparison. We may have high state taxes but I'm not constantly getting antagonized by a corrupt government desperate to raise money through continuous public contact. There are also extremely affordable parts of CA, I own desert property that's fully paid for just a couple hours from LA and the Pacific coast, an hour from Big Bear. The yearly property taxes are equal to a fancy dinner, 5 acres and a cabin for the price of a car. People obsess over the housing problems of very specific internationally-desirable elite-class pockets of CA, there's plenty of CA to go around.


The first time (and only in over 10 years) I ended up in traffic court in CA was for excessive speeding, it was for 90+ in a 55 - a mandatory court appearance. The police interaction was more entertaining than stressful, and when I went to court the judge started the session by announcing that the state had requested all fines be pushed to their maximum due to some temporary political budget problems. She then announced, that in protest, since the county doesn't find it appropriate given the general economic downturn, all penalties issued that day would be at the absolute minimum. I paid less than a hundred bucks for that ticket.

This situation, from start to finish, would never have happened in IL. I would have had police with guns drawn on me when pulled over, searching my vehicle after smelling nonexistent marijuana. The judge would have been a dickhead obsessed with people removing their hats in his courtroom before wiping out their savings accounts.


> it felt like I must be surrounded by lethal weapons, what a miserable way to live.

You already were, but now it's legal for law-abiding citizens to have them.

The average law-abiding citizen I knew back in IL was one heated discussion on a bad day away from shooting someone had they always been carrying.

Furthermore, the vast majority of people qualify as law-abiding citizens. A very small minority of the population will illegally carry firearms with them. I do not accept your statement as anywhere near accurate.

Anyone have an examples outside of Vegas and maybe the first two Connecticut casinos where bringing in legalize gambling actually derived on the promise of raising projected revenue benefiting the wider economy?

Gambling is zero sum, so within a closed system, it can never be beneficial. The only way it can be beneficial is if it extracts value from outside of a particular locality and distributed the losses externally. Why vegas or macau can succeed is because most of the gambling in these cities is done by people outside of vegas and macau. If gambling in vegas was confined only to the people of vegas, then vegas would collapse as a portion of their citizens' lives are ruined.

Though I'm personally against all types of gambling, I believe in individual rights and a person's right to waste their money as they see fit. However, I don't think governments should be so closely tied to it and I certainly don't think governments should be depending on it for funding of any sort. They should tax the companies involved in gambling, but they should be "in bed with them" so to speak. And I don't think state governments should be involved in lotteries either. Lotteries should be purely private and the government should tax it. I don't think a moral or sane government that truly cares about and represents their citizenry could be involved in lotteries or gambling.

It's not just that governments are dependant on the money, it's also that the gambling can then fund vast lobbying arms to the detriment of good policy.

This has certainly happened in Australia (especially NSW): two of the biggest political donors are the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and ClubsNSW, which represent the principal beneficiaries from video gambling machines: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/machine-men-how-the-aha-...

> ...a moral or sane government that truly cares about and represents their citizenry...

Let me know when you find one, and I will donate a breeding pair of unicorns to its zoo.

How is gambling a zero sum game? According to the article, taxes from the Casino operations are $393M, and from clubs operations $300M, so thats $693 tax revenue the government wouldn't otherwise have. How many hospitals, schools and other social facilities can be built with $693M per year. Also add in the venue staff running the place, the builders building the facilities, the engineers and technicians building the machines, etc. An enormous amount of people are employed in the industry, and the government gets $693M per year extra which it wouldn't have it Gaming was illegal. How is this a zero sum equation?

Gambling is a zero sum game because by nature, it creates no new or additional value. It's simply a matter of definition.


In other words, someone wins and someone loses. Just because someone benefits doesn't mean it isn't a zero sum game. Stealing is also a zero sum game. It benefits the criminals who steal ( but no new value is created ). It's simply a transfer of wealth, not a creation of wealth. That's why it is zero sum.

I'm looking forward to his answer to this. But I would guess it's something along the lines of:

-Society spends 2B gambling

-Govt receives .7B tax revenue and spends it poorly

-Game owners pocket 1.3B which disappears forever

-Cost of increased social safety net, suicides, etc.


-Society spends 1.5B on goods and services rather than gambling

I don't think it's fair to count the venue, staff, etc., if the same money would otherwise be spent on other goods and services.

I'm glad this is illegal in Chicago, but I feel for the rest of Illinois.

Is there anything preventing other cities (or at the county level) in Illinois from banning it?

The article says that all of the current mayoral candidates want to legalize it in Chicago.

The article says all the "front-runners" support it, and it's entirely unclear to me who they mean. I'm not sure any reliable polling is yet available. The article they link shows Amara Enyia, at least, voiced no support for a casino, and I just watched the WGN Mayoral Forum last night and don't recall her supporting it there, either.

==all the front-runners in the city’s Feb. 26 mayoral primary support some version of a casino, and some want to bring in video gambling as well.==

This is explicitly about video gambling which "some" supported. All of them supported a city casino in that particular forum. It's semantics, but the difference is meaningful as a casino would be a single location that also employs significant people and these video gambling machines are self-run and in restaurants, gas stations and bars.

Isn't Rivers Casino (right near Ohare) in Chicago city limits? I've been there, and they definitely have all sorts of video gambling, but maybe they were granted an exemption?

I've been to Rivers a few times with the intent to do some light gambling ($200 cash, no more) and ended up not wagering a single bet. Just landed my butt at the bar instead. I'd rather a reasonably priced McCallan than a minimum $50 wager for a hand of blackjack.

Rivers Casino is across the city line in the suburb of Des Plaines. It is not within city limits.

here is a different perspective:

illinois should concentrate on not worrying too much about what consenting adults do in their spare time. Until recently, even happy hours were illegal. Illinois should concentrate on fixing the state so that people are not fleeing in droves. Legal gambling is the last issue that the state should be concerned with.

The problem is that "consent" isn't a binary, it's on a continuum. When people are bombarded nonstop with advertising for video gambling, eventually some of them will take the bait. And those who do will be the ones more susceptible to the inherent lure of gambling, and as such the ones most likely to be addicted to it.

sure. On the flip side, few years ago I went to a casino in Rosemont, had a good time, ate a steak, played a few games and went home. And I am not addicted to anything and don't want it closed. 20% of people who drink alcohol get addicted. Should we close every bar in Chicago?

The straw man of banning gambling everywhere is not what this is about. Sure, consenting adults should be able to indulge in vices, but we should regulate them to reduce the social harm they cause.

that is a straw man itself. it is already regulated.

Video slot machines are particularly odious IMO. They are carefully designed to addict people. It's sort of like, don't ban tobacco, but maybe ban the worst tricks and chemicals cigarette companies use to make the product more addictive.

While not video gambling directly, but there are plenty of those places around. Chicago really is obsessed with scratch off tickets and gambling in general. It is pretty sad. It's amazing to see the same people on a regular basis just throwing away money like that. 20 dollars at a time.

In our state we have 'Nudgemaster' machines at bars, restaurants, bowling alleys. Video gambling isn't legal here (except at a casino), and these devices skirt the laws by accepting cash, and only giving out gift cards or merchandise as prizes.

Isn't it clear and obvious that gambling is non-productive and negative sum?

That describes lots of activities.

So when gambling has failed to produce enough revenue, maybe, as a fallback, they might consider raising taxes to, you know, pay for all the things they need.

Illinois’ debt problem is far beyond fixing by raising taxes. They promised billions on corrupt pension schemes that literally could not have been payed for except by passing the bucket down the line to the next ngenwration of workers. The dilemma is that you can’t get out of it except by filing bankruptcy, which aside from the question of whether it is even possible, would completely destroy an otherwise healthy state and local economy.

People should go to jail for those agreements.

Illinois taxes are already pretty darn high. Illinois is also experiencing net out-migration, reducing the taxpayer base. Increasing taxes will only make people leave faster. It's a rock and a hard place.

That is funny. Illinois has some of the highest taxes in country.


state income tax is laughably low

The income tax is low, but property and sales taxes are also high. Want to buy a drink in Chicago? You're going to pay around a 12% tax on that drink. In Illinois, they get you coming and going.

The state income tax is not used for education, which is individually funded by counties via property taxes, which more than make up the difference.

Illinois was never supposed to have an income tax, and didn't have one until 1970. Our property taxes are very high for that reason.

4.95% flat rate is pretty high.

the states around illinois have a higher income tax, but they also have a progressive tax system which lessens the pain for lower income households.

tldr: legalizing video gambling has brought in additional revenue, but not as much as expected. Illinois borrowed money in advance based on the expected rates.

That's good news. The public isn't being plundered by gambling as bad as government indented.

True, all the public has to do is pay back the money the government didn't make from gambling. That is a win, not in my book, but in some book.

Depends what they spent it on

Probably hookers and blow for one of their parties...

I stand corrected.

Hey at least the hookers benefited and they're part of the public.

It's also bad news because the government is going to see long term problems borrowing money, costing the tax payers more to pay back interest on loans for worthwhile projects.

I'm glad fewer people are falling for this since it tends to be lower income individuals who would be better served holding onto their money, but this feels like a net Bad to me.

Been a while since I've looked, but Illinois's credit rating was headed toward junk bond status - like they were literally on step above. I haven't seen anything in the 5 years since that would have changed that direction.

Nothing has changed. The state's debt problems are being mitigated at the moment by prevailing economic growth, particularly pension funds that have enjoyed rising equities. The state is still seeing a large net outflow of property owners and income earners. When the US economy eventually turns downward, if only as an inevitable iteration of the business cycle, the badly worn gears of IL finance will strip entirely clean.

The latest thinking about IL finance emerged[1] from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in April last year; add another 1% to the highest average property tax rates in the nation. It won't raise enough money to actually cover pension liabilities inside a forty year horizon, but one explicit benefit is that it will devalue properties so that "current homeowners would not be able to avoid the new tax by selling their homes." Even better, "people thinking of moving to Illinois" would benefit from lower prices, mitigating the unattractive tax rates, so goes the theory.

No thoughts were offered about the effects of thousands of dollars per year of new property taxes on fixed incomes, working poor or young home owners put under water by property devaluation. No analysis was performed to predict how rapidly the IL emmigration rate will accelerate with more taxes. No evidence was offered to support the concept that some pool of mysteriously tax indifferent IL admirers are standing by to move in once housing prices decline.

[1] https://midwest.chicagofedblogs.org/?p=3096

Not sure about Chicago, but my small hometown in Central IL is depressing to visit, glad I left Illinois.

I wonder if VR gambling machines might provide a better gambling experience for gamblers while also preventing places from filling up with junky and bulky machines, and probably allow for more players too within the same amount of space.

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