Boyd Gaming, owners of the Par-A-Dice, in favor of 24-hour gaming
Letting Illinois casinos stay open 24 hours a day would create jobs while boosting tax revenue for the state and the communities that host them, according to the boss at the Par-A-Dice Casino.
Initially, the Par-A-Dice likely would implement 24-hour gaming only in "limited circumstances," meaning certain weekends and holidays, if the Illinois Gaming Board authorizes all-day gambling. But 24-hour gaming days could become more frequent in the future if economic conditions improve, Par-A-Dice vice president and general manager Chris Corrado wrote in an April 3 letter to the Gaming Board.
"We support 24-hour gaming," Corrado wrote. "Expanding the hours of gaming will lead to at least three positive results."
--The Illinois casino operators would be "in a much better position to compete" with bordering states, and a better competitive environment helps Illinois "both in terms of tax revenue and the incentive for capital investment."
--Illinois and the communities with casinos would receive additional tax revenue.
--Employment levels would increase, benefiting local communities and the state.
David Strow, spokesman for Boyd Gaming, which owns the Par-A-Dice, publicly released Corrado’s letter on Monday.
The Gaming Board, which regulates the state’s casino industry, has scheduled a special meeting for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Chicago to hear public input on the idea of allowing 24-hour gambling.
One of the scheduled speakers is Christopher Anderson, who opposes what he calls "nonstop gambling." He favors requiring the casinos to shut their doors for at least a few hours every day.
"It’s really the last barrier that is in place to protect people from gambling beyond their means," said Anderson, an Evanston-based psychotherapist who treats people with gambling addictions.
If 24-hour gaming gets approved, the state in effect is saying it is interested only in doing whatever it takes to maximize revenue, he said.
Several years ago, Anderson said, Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him as a special consultant to the Gaming Board on the issues of problem and compulsive gambling.
Meanwhile, newly released figures show Illinois casinos are continuing to rake in less money than they did a year ago — a trend that industry observers blame largely on the statewide ban on indoor smoking that took effect in January. Declining revenues are a key reason why the state’s casino industry wants 24-hour gaming.
Adjusted gross receipts for the nine operating casinos totaled $147,700,000 in March, according to Gaming Board figures. That’s nearly a 20 percent drop, compared with the March 2007 total of $184,314,000.
At the Par-A-Dice, the adjusted gross receipts for March were $10,994,000, which is almost a 12 percent decline from the March 2007 figure of $12,469,000.
Adriana Colindres can be reached at (217) 782-6292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.