I am highly concerned about the proposed Chicago casino, which will have disastrous social costs, harm marginalized communities, extract wealth from local neighborhoods and fail to live up to expectations about economic impact. It is yet another instance of wealthy corporations convincing government officials to allow them to exploit everyday people through rosy projections of job creation and tax revenue.
Building more casinos increases pathological gambling, and the likelihood of being a problem gambler or pathological gambler doubles near a casino. I’ve talked with multiple Chinatown leaders deeply concerned about a casino being placed in such close proximity, and Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez has expressed concern about a casino in his ward.
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I’m also skeptical about the supposed economic impact. The market is saturated with casinos in surrounding areas, and the expected tax revenues diminish with each new casino. A casino will be competing with other local businesses, drawing customers away and hurting local entrepreneurs.
With an estimated 300,000 problem gamblers in Illinois, it is likely that we all know someone impacted. Casinos exploit these friends and family members while claiming they care about them. The Institute for American Values estimated that between 40% to 60% of casino revenues are earned from these problem gamblers.
Casinos are regressive institutions that extract wealth from those who can’t afford it, funding the government on their backs and enriching big corporations. Problem gambling is associated with increased depression, debt, divorce, and illegal activity. One in five pathological gamblers commits suicide. Is this really what we want for our city? Will we trade our neighbors for a few short-term construction jobs and some low-paying casino jobs? Sign the petition at www.stoppredatorygamblingillinois.org/take-action.
Zach Savella Stallard, organizer and volunteer, Stop Predatory Gambling Illinois
Confirm Judge Jackson
I commend President Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. As the fires of fascism eviscerate Europe, the American people realize the crucial nature of preserving democracy at all costs. We understand that to truly destroy the depredations of dictatorship, we must embody liberal values at home. As the first Black woman on the high court, Jackson would represent our strength as an increasingly multiracial and multicultural democratic republic.
Once the Senate musters the intestinal fortitude to confirm this exceptionally brilliant legal mind, with a unique record of lived and academic experiences, her quintessentially American conception of our Constitution will secure a victory for every marginalized soul within our borders.
For every innocent sufferer of the war on drugs, a swift vote for Jackson will represent rightful liberation rather than serving a sentence for the anguish of addiction. For every woman seeking an abortion, the confirmation of Jackson will help secure a fulfilling future over the dreadful prospect of authoritarian attacks upon bodily autonomy. For every victim of torture, Jackson will be a defense against unconstitutional forms of retribution.
At the end of the day, senators must confirm Jackson for ourselves and as an example to the world. Despite our enormous difficulties, America’s best days lie ahead.
Henry J.H. Wilson, Barrington