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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.
How do you prevent people who can't afford it from gambling when it's legal?
You simply don’t. Not your problem. If an adult decides to gamble, it’s his decision and none of your business.
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':
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.
I suspect, though I have no proof, that he at least partially inspired the Joe Flaherty SCTV character Count Floyd/Floyd Robinson.
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.
Emma’s/lacys/etc was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this headline- they are everywhere.
Most Illinoisans live in or around Chicago. Chicago has big streets too, but does not look like Urbana:
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.
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://firstname.lastname@example.org,-88.2320852,3a,75y,1... or perhaps https://email@example.com,-88.2121028,3a,75y,2...
Or a look at the dense commercial zone supported by the University of Illinois campus: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-88.2296903,3a,75y,4...
That said, SUVs are now more purchased than sedans, and scenes like https://email@example.com,-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://firstname.lastname@example.org,-88.205592,3a,75y,31... to more dense 'downtown' areas like https://email@example.com,-88.2417685,3a,75y,1... are typical.
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 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.
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.
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.
It's unfortunate that you had to pay a fine but 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.
Later I came to know that the city of Chicago was undergoing a dubious parking privatization initiative round about then.
This was in the paper ticket era.
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.
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
Wikipedia disagrees with you:
1980 3,005,072 −10.7%
1990 2,783,911 −7.4%
2000 2,896,016 4.0%
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.
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.
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.
* 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!)
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
I guess you don't own a Burger King :)
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.
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.
(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.)
Please name the cities with comparable career opportunities and higher standard of living.
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.
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." 
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." 
==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." 
I certainly have a bias towards Chicago, but your points just don't really bear out in the data.
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.
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.
Funny enough, most Rust Belt states are net payers to the Federal Government . 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 . 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?
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.
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.
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.
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 evidence that the Rust Belt states are the most corrupt is... where, again?
Also used to make what is considered a very obvious rebuttal to the original argument.
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.
* 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
(I agree with I think most of this thread that these things are a blight.)
My suspicion is that urban gamblers mostly take the blue line to the shuttle to Rivers.
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.
(Yes, the lootbox debate, but you know of what I speak).
the action or practice of playing gambling games.
"gaming is evident everywhere in Las Vegas, not just on the Strip"
the action or practice of playing video games.
"I'm fourteen years old and enjoy gaming and playing baseball"
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.
It's a documentary about video gambling machines in Australia, quite eye opening to say the least....
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.
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 suspect a lot of the techniques mentioned in the article made their way from slot machine design into mobile games.
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 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.
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.
You already were, but now it's legal for law-abiding citizens to have them.
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.
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.
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:
Let me know when you find one, and I will donate a breeding pair of unicorns to its zoo.
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.
-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.
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.
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.
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.
People should go to jail for those agreements.
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.
The latest thinking about IL finance emerged 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.