Monday, June 23, 2014

Some Budget Options... Logical Gaming Expansion...

Well the Illinois Gaming Board would likely never go for it, but I have some thoughts about how some logical gaming changes could improve the state's and Chicago's revenue situations.

Chicago Casino,
Well it should happen, but there need to be some conditions and some ground rules.

  • The City of Chicago would have to allow Video gaming within the city, it can exclude downtown besides the Metra stations, but anyplace else in the city that is wet, has to be able to have them.
  • The City of Chicago could own the machines on city property (such as the airports)
  • Metra can operate up to 20 machines at each terminal station in Chicago as long as they are owned by Metra and operated within taverns at the stations.
  • A casino should be focused as best it can on the convention business. (Hard to enforce)
South Suburban Casino 
We need to stop having gaming dollars leave the state to go to Indiana (a much bigger pie than what goes up north to Wisconsin)
  • The 'municipal share' would be split between suburbs in the Southern and Eastern half of Cook County that have at least X% of it's residents living below the poverty line (sorry Homewood) on a per-capita basis. The city hosting the casino gets an extra slice for providing services, but at best a break even extra slice.
  • Ownership to be determined, might be the suburbs jointly, might just be a 'normal' owner.
  • Gaming tax revenues can not be used for general fund activities, only for capital projects.
Danville Casino
Add a casino down there.

Existing Casinos
They are going to be hurt by expansion (hell Video Gaming isn't doing them any favors) and in general they employ more folks in direct gaming, so lets give them some new revenue opportunities as well.
  • Lifting of several of their current marketing restrictions (like how all of their promotions need to be approved by the gaming board), allow some standard stuff by providing standard or pre-approval.
  • Allow modifications to the number of gaming positions to occur easier, also to allow some positions to count 'less' than others, for example table game positions count as 1/2 or 1/3 of a gaming position.
  • Ask them what they want/need to compete in this new world.
Also the state should look at becoming the gaming machine supplier/owner on a go forward basis at some point, the odds of this happening are slim, but it is worth looking at.  Existing machines/locations would be grandfathered in. I know this is likely the longest shot on my list, but there it is...

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