Casino Gambling and the Economy: A Bad Deal

  • Evidence suggests the public loses $3 for every $1 in benefits promised by the casino industry
  • A study on gambling in Illinois found that 65 percent of businesses were hurt by the proximity of gambling.
  • Gambling in Illinois has already fallen well short of its revenue projections since it was legalized, bringing in $1.3 billion less than expected.
  • The picture is only getting worse: casino revenues have declined by 15% since 2013 alone.
  • Casinos are job killers. They take money out of the hands of grocery stores and local retail businesses, and move it out of the community. This is great for casino operators who pocket the profits, but bad for local businesses who actually invest in the community.

Casinos and the Community

  • Casinos are predatory and addictive. They build their customer base around repeat customers, and work to actively foster addiction and dependency. Slot machines have been described as “electronic morphine” and “the crack cocaine of gambling”
  • Casinos support the expansion of other exploitative businesses, like payday lenders and pawn shops that profit at the expense of working class residents.
  • In a recently released study by the National Association of Realtors, the impact is clear – Waukegan homes will lose value.
  • Casinos are frequently correlated with increases in crime, and worse yet, are known to foster connections with organized crime syndicates.
  • The areas where casinos locate, as well as nearby areas, see more bankruptcies due to the casino being there.

What are some of the alternatives?

  • Working with the state of Illinois to stop the exodus of companies to Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie
  • Advance the sale of Lake Michigan water to other municipalities
  • Attract technology and light manufacturing companies to Waukegan, building on modest successes with companies like Amazon
  • Support innovation and entrepreneurship by creating startup infrastructure to support new business incubation, capitalizing on Waukegan’s lower cost of living
  • Work with federal agencies such as Housing and Urban Development, Department of Commerce, and Department of Labor to make investments through grants dedicated to infrastructure, job training, and industry cluster development
  • These are just a few ideas! We love to hear what the community thinks. Drop us a line and tell us your big idea!


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Have any questions you need answered about the Waukegan casino project? Drop us a line. We'll do our best to get you answers.

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