The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

I Bet You I Can Get Into That Casino

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Jan 4, 2006 6:21PM

We can’t quite put our finger on it, but there’s something about the concept of carding people to get into casinos to help stop compulsive gambling that seems kind of off. Kind of like carding people to buy alcohol stopping alcoholism. Right.
2006_01 chips.jpg

To be fair, there’s more to this plan than that. The Illinois Gaming Board is considering a proposal to card everyone who enters a casino to stop people from gambling who have voluntarily placed themselves on a “self-exclusion” program. You can fill out a form saying that you don’t want to be allowed into a casino to place a bet and then by being carded, you essentially can be foiled by your own good idea. Sounds like kind of a gamble to us.

According to the article in the Trib, if you get caught busting in on your self-imposed ban, you can be charged with trespassing, and you don’t get to keep anything that you win. (Insert sad foghorn noise here.) So far, the state has ganked $244,000 from 173 people who won money. Now, we aren’t for compulsive gambling, but this sounds like kind of a coup for the state. Hmm, you’re a compulsive gambler. You try to give yourself the equivalent of gambling antabuse. You fail. And then the state gets to keep your winnings?

We also thought that you couldn’t gamble unless you were 21. So why aren’t people being carded on this basis? For instance, to make sure that Johnny Teenager isn’t getting into the Texas Hold ‘Em craze? (Only three casinos in Illinois currently do this.) Confusion reigns. It seems the Illinois Casino and Gaming Association is not eager to be carding everyone. There’s cards to be played, and this might cause delays.

Up in Waukegan, Mayor Richard Hyde is trying to get the state’s final casino license that was taken away from Emerald Casino. And he’s not above begging. He said to the board, "And while I wish it wasn't true, Waukegan is suffering and in dire need of a major economic boost… And I think it's very important for Waukegan. We need money. We need jobs. We need ... what that casino can do for us."

And we all know that a little drinking, smoking, staying up all night and compulsive gambling is just what any town needs.

Image via