Illinois gambling not a bad bet

While gambling isn’t something Illinois really or desperately needs, it’s not the end of the world.

Along the Mississippi River, residents are growing concerned that the riverboat gambling operators want to move ashore and open up real casinos on land.

Well, that’s probably not a bad assumption. As long as Chicago is bouncing around the idea of gambling there, the residents of small-town Illinois who live along the mighty river’s banks won’t have to worry about serious gamblers flocking there for games of chance.

The communities stretched out by the river are not equipped to become grass roots versions of Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Their daytime attractions, especially in places like Galena, are a good foil for big-time night-light casinos.

Look at the history of gambling in Illinois. People have been able to bet on the ponies for 75 years and have been playing bingo and the lottery for more than 20 years. Now, they’re also able to go to off-track betting parlors rather than the tracks themselves.

Look at the state today. Riverboat gambling is making lots of money for the state, even in off-times. For a state as financially strapped as Illinois, a little folding cash is a great thing, even if it comes from gambling.

It’s time for concerned residents to deny the notion that Illinois is about to become another Las Vegas. The one thing that can’t be denied is the chance for big bucks in state coffers—and that’s as good an argument as any.