Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director, Tom Swoik, asserts that adding hundreds of video slots in Illinois is not creating new gamblers, but rather, displacing more highly-taxable revenues:
“We should be happy that Rep. Rita has such a firm belief in gambling, even if the evidence cited by pros in the business — especially Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association — seems to show otherwise.
“What you’re seeing going on is cannibalization from the other forms of gaming into video gaming,” Swoik said. “It’s just moving around the dollars. We’re not creating any more gamblers.”
But what does he know. When you believe you have a winning hand, you confidently shove the rest of your chips to the center of the table and call, right Rep. Rita?
I’m not writing a diatribe against gambling. If you want to blow your paycheck on video machines, the lottery or the ponies, go ahead. But I am laying down a marker against the folly of expanding the financing of state government with such schemes.
The trouble, according to Swoik, is we aren’t creating enough new gamblers. If we only had more gamblers, then Rep. Rita’s faith in the future financial security of Illinois state government will be secured. Now, where can we find those extra gamblers? Why not implement my suggestion of a few years ago, when the state was first toying with the idea of expanded video gambling and line the rotunda of the state Capitol with video machines?”
Journal-Courier, “Doubling-down on a losing hand,” October 2, 2015