THE BRIEFING | Posted by Meredith Flynn
From Peoria to Murphysboro, from Hoffman Estates to Mt. Vernon, video gambling will arrive in communities across Illinois in the next few weeks. The Illinois General Assembly approved a bill to allow video gambling in 2009, but the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) hasn’t been prepared to enact the legislation – until now. The law allows video gaming terminals to be placed in bars, fraternal and veteran’s organizations, and truck stops.
Quincy is just one Illinois town considering allowing video gambling now that the IGA has moved forward with the bill. Quincy First Southern Pastor Tom Rains is working with fellow pastors to prevent it from being approved. “This type of gaming revenue does more harm than good,” he said. “There are too many innocent victims. Studies have shown it takes just one year to become addicted to video gambling, while it takes three and half years for all other forms of gambling.”
An estimated 250 cities and counties in Illinois have bans on video gambling, but that doesn’t mean those communities will remain free of video gambling. Recently in Springfield, city council members voted to overturn the city’s ban and approved video gambling within the city limits.
The state projects it will earn 30 percent of the money video gamblers spend at the machines from taxes on the terminals. That could amount to anywhere between $184 million and $342 million in funds, which are slated to be spent on road, bridge and school construction. Five percent of the tax will go to the city or county where the terminals are located. The IGB reports it has received 1,000 applications from businesses wanting to have terminals and has approved 70.
But at what cost to cities and taxpayers? According to research by Baylor Professor Earl L. Grinols and University of Georgia Professor David B. Mustard, communities where gambling is legal pay $13,067 each year in criminal justice, social services, regulatory and other costs per pathological gambler. They also found for every $1 in tax revenue a community receives from gambling, it cost taxpayers $3.
Reported by Lisa Sergent, contributing editor for the Illinois Baptist.
Warren hopes for audience with presidential candidates
No formal plans are yet in place, but Baptist Press reports Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, hopes to interview President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the church’s second presidential forum. The first, between Obama and John McCain, was held in August 2008 at the church’s Lake Forest, Ca., campus. Read more at bpnews.net.
Restaurant pres. is no chicken, stands firm on traditional values
Update: Some news outlets and event organizers initially reported National Eat at Chick-Fil-A Day was July 25. It’s actually scheduled for Wednesday, August 1.
Tomorrow, July 25, has been deemed National Eat at Chick-Fil-A Day by some conservative leaders, including former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who have rallied around the restaurant chain’s president, Dan Cathy. He is currently under fire for affirming Chick-Fil-A’s position on same-sex marriage in an interview earlier this month. Cathy told The Biblical Recorder, a Baptist newspaper in North Carolina, his company is “guilty as charged” of supporting traditional family values. His comments drew fire from proponents of same-sex marriage, some of whom called for a boycott of the restaurant chain. Read more about National Eat at Chick-Fil-A Day at christianpost.com.
Wheaton College files suit against contraceptive mandate
Wheaton College has joined several fellow universities in opposing the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Preventative Services mandate, which requires organizations to provide contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs through their insurance policies. According to the school’s website, Wheaton is partnering with The Catholic University of America in the suit, bringing the number of lawsuits filed against the mandate to 24. Read more about Wheaton’s suit at wheaton.edu.
Colorado church reaches out in aftermath of theater shooting
The members of Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church woke up last Friday morning with a new, probably deeper, burden to reach out to their community with the hope of Christ. The church is located less than a mile away from the Century Aurora 16 movie theater, where a gunman took 12 lives early last Friday morning and critically injured many others. Along with offering public prayer services and counseling, “We are equipping our members to share with our community that God is real, that He loves them desperately and that He will walk this road with them if they will only turn to Him,” Pastor Mitch Hamilton told Baptist Press. “He is with each one walking this road and He offers His presence to any who will call upon Him.” Read more at bpnews.net.