Video gambling has been banned in the City of Chicago for about 40 years and community leaders say it should stay that way. JCUA, along with other members of the Don’t Gamble with Chicago Coalition, held a press conference today (July 16) to emphasize the importance of keeping the video gambling ban in place.
Gov. Quinn’s hotly debated capital bill made it possible for cities to set up video gambling machines in local bars and other places licensed to serve liquor. Cities that choose to participate keep five percent of the revenue produced by the machines. Proponents of the bill claim video gambling would mean more money for construction jobs building roads and schools, and are lobbying the City Council in attempts to lift the gambling ban.
At today’s press conference, coalition members shared a different and more troubling outcome to lifting the ban. Easier access to these machines, they say, would result in an increase in gambling addictions, crime and loss of income. Gambling would also result in millions of dollars leaving the city each year.
Lifting the ban goes against JCUA’s mission of empowering Chicago communities in their pursuit of social and economic justice. Jane Ramsey, executive director of JCUA, had this to say at a February press conference on the issue:
“This only works by people losing—by individuals losing, by families losing. After all, there are no profits unless there are great losses.”
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