The state’s roads and bridges are in poor condition. That’s being nice.
While we complain about them, few enjoy handing over the cash to get them in better condition.
But we all know the money must come from somewhere.
So, while Gov. J.B. Pritzker was congratulated for getting a $45 billion capital bill, Rebuild Illinois, through the Illinois General Assembly recently, there is always another side to the story.
You can bet on it.
In this case, the other side is where is this money coming from? We are aware of pending increases for vehicle licenses, but gaming will be a large contributor to this massive repair project, and this is sad.
To collect this money, the state is upping the ante by allowing for the creation of even more gambling outlets, and Kankakee is no exception.
Here are just a few facts regarding video gambling locally.
In the city of Kankakee alone, there now are 203 video gaming stations in 43 locations.
In 2018, Kankakee itself collected $445,412 through state-sponsored video gaming. Through the first five months of 2019, the city has collected $209,324, according to data from the Illinois Gaming Authority.
During that same 2018 time frame, the state collected $2.2 million from Kankakee wagering. In the first five months of 2019, the state pulled out just more than $1 million from Kankakee’s machines.
This money came from someone, correct?
In 2018, players gambling within Kankakee lost $8.9 million. Though 2019’s first five months, players here lost $4.1 million.
These are staggering numbers and they will only grow as gambling options continue to widen.
The rules are changing. Instead of being limited to five video gambling terminals per establishment, the number has increase to six. Instead of Kankakee having 203 game stations, this number likely will swell to about 250 over the course of the next year or so. That reality is as sure a bet as there is.
That situation likely means losses will only grow as well. People who cannot afford to lose money will more than likely lose more of it. At least that’s what the state is hoping.
Local institutions will be left to pick up the pieces for these folks. That fact means “we” will have to extend a helping hand to these people.
Enjoy the resurfaced roads and the new bridges. Unfortunately, these structures will once again crumble and be in need of repair.
One wonders where the state will go for the next needed cash infusion. What happens when we run out of vices — such as gambling, alcohol, cigarettes — to tax?
Enjoy the ride while you can.