You would hope that government, perhaps especially local government, would be about the business of supporting and building up the people of our community. Perhaps in most ways that is exactly what they do.
But when it comes to their support for a massive expansion of gambling, and specifically for bringing a casino to Rockford, they are doing just the opposite. Our local government, and many other local leaders, including the State Senator Dave Syverson, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and many others, are, in reality, working to destroy at least 5400 lives in the City of Rockford alone.
5400? Where does that number come from? All of the following is supported by scientifically confirmed studies done by various academic, neutral researches.
The City of Rockford has a population of about 150,000.
In the United States, gambling addiction rates ("problem and pathological gambling") run about 3.0 percent (NGISC Final Report, p. 4-8, link to study below). But gambling addiction rates increase with an increase in areas of "neighborhood disadvantage" (Welte, see conclusion, p. 16, link to study below). With unemployment and poverty rates higher than the national average, and education rates lower than the national average (the main contributing factors for "neighborhood disadvantage"), it is necessary to conclude that Rockford's gambling addiction rate would be at least a little higher than the national average. I will use the conservative number of 4.0 percent.
The key research finding is that proximity to a casino greatly increases the prevalence of gambling addition. In areas with a casino within 10 miles the gambling addiction rate increases 90% (Welte, p. 12, link to study below). So with a casino in Rockford, the gambling addiction rate would be 7.6 percent.
4.0 percent of 150,000 is 6000.
7.6 percent of 150,000 is 11,400.
So bringing a casino to Rockford will result in 5,400 extra people with gambling addictions.
Many of our local leaders in Rockford, Illinois, are working hard to convince Governor Quinn that we need another 5,400 lives destroyed in our city. And that does not even account for the negative affects those problem and pathological gamblers have on their families and others around them.
This is very sad.
NGISC Report - National Gambling Impact Study Commission Final Report
Welte - "The Relationship of Ecological and Geographic Factors to Gambling Behavior and Pathology"