The Illinois General Assembly has just passed SB744 that authorizes the expansion of gaming to racetracks as well as many new casino markets within the state. This has taken place at a time that the previously passed Video Gaming Act remains in limbo. This state of limbo has been due first to the amount of time required by the Illinois Gaming Board with its limited resources and most recently by the courts due to technical issues with the manner in which the Capital Bill of 2009 was passed.
The adverse situation created by the time delays has meant that multiple industries comprised of thousands of small businesses in the state have undergone substantial financial hardships for extended periods of time. Given the state of the economy, this could not have come at a worse time.
Small family owned businesses have been borrowing money, mortgaging their homes and operating at losses in an effort to adhere to the Illinois Gaming Boards rules for licensure while waiting for the revenue stream that video gaming would bring in to save their businesses.
The gaming industry, authorized under the act, and its potential licensees have invested over $200,000,000 in Illinois in preparation for implementation of the law. These investments into the state have included Illinois Gaming Board regulation requirements for application, investments in acquisitions, ongoing payroll with no revenue stream, research and development, training and marketing to name a few.
The passage of SB744 concerns the potential members of this industry as they have already experienced almost two years of delays and anticipated implementation and the associated revenue is still several months away. The probability of the Illinois Gaming Board experiencing further delays to the implementation of Video Gaming and funding for the Capital Construction Act of 2009 is greatly increased when the additional work load of SB744 is added.
We urge the Legislature and the Governor to keep this industry and the substantial investment already made in Illinois in mind when considering chnages to SB744. It is important that the Video Gaming Act and funding for the Capital Bill of 2009 not experience additional delays due to the passing of SB744.