For Illinois lawmakers gambling expansion never seems to go away. With Illinois financial woes it’s no surprise with the current push for gambling expansion. In a 12/7 interview on WBBM-AM’s Noon Business Hour Gerald Roper President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber OF Commerce discussed the advantages of Chicago’s Block 37 along with other possible downtown casino locations. Looking at Chicago’s landscape a State Street casino would benefit many downtown businesses. Forty million people from outside Chicago come to this area every year. Tourism would get a boost allowing more tax dollars received from out of state visitors
Block 37 located on State Street
Illinois politicians have put the Chicago area behind the eight ball when it comes to gaming tax revenues. According to the “American Gaming Association” the Chicagoland area is the third largest gaming market in the country. Taking a closer look northwest Indiana is receiving a large chunk of the gaming revenues. With gaming issues Illinois politicians say “they want to do the right thing for their citizens”. Unfortunately their votes end up turning into financial gains for Indiana.
Horseshoe Hammond with downtown Chicago in the backround.
For the poker player the most important part of the new gambling expansion bill is the increase in casino gaming positions. The current bill allows existing riverboat casinos to expand to 1,600 positions in 2013. With the exception of Hollywood Aurora and Harrah’s Metropolis casinos opened their poker rooms as other gaming revenues declined. The Des Plaines casino that currently is under construction has no plans for a poker room. This could change with this new gambling expansion bill. If this bill passes Harrah’s Joliet will likely to be operating the state’s largest poker room.
Politicians missed another opportunity to have poker rooms at Illinois horse racing facilities. Minnesota’s Canterbury Downs is a good example on how poker rooms can be a perfect fit for horse racing facilities. Florida was been successful adding poker rooms to their dog tracks. Pennsylvania and West Virginia have recently added poker rooms to horse racing facilities. Illinois and Indiana casino poker rooms had combined revenues over 70 million in 2009. Most Illinois race tracks could have poker rooms up and running quickly and economically. From a tax standpoint this makes a lot of sense, Unfortunately politicians have never considered having poker rooms at racing facilities.