Tom Stilp JD, MBA/MM, LLM, MSC
Illinois is broke. Billions in pension obligations are crushing the state. Although law is the foundation of civil government, and its administration is essential to maintaining rights and stability of social order (Shedd v. Patterson, 302 Ill. 355, 360 (1922)), money is the “lube” that makes it all work. In light of the unprecedented fiscal problems facing Illinois, the state needs a plan (i) that raises substantial money, (ii) quickly, and (iii) that actually works. Resolving the state’s fiscal issues has been at the General Assembly’s fingertips – the creation of the “Chicago Casino Development Authority.”
Navy Pier: 25 Years Ago – a Successful Project
To understand what a Chicago Casino would bring to the state, Illinois need only look to a prior example in Chicago, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA). 25 years ago, the MPEA revitalized Navy Pier, fulfilling Burnham’s vision of piers jutting into Lake Michigan as recreational centers for those seeking the calming effects of lake views and offering an urban escape. Although Chicago’s plans for Northerly Park (formerly Meigs Field) fizzled and sputtered out, McCormick Place became one of the largest convention centers in the U.S. Other cities, looking at Chicago, updated and expanded their facilities to capture more disposable income and ride the successful nationwide trend toward using entertainment hot-spots as an opportunity to achieve larger civic agendas.
Whatever may be said about gambling, gambling does not lack for revenue growth. Taxes from video gambling provided a 100-fold growth, offering a financial decadence France’s King Louis XIV would have envied. Adding to revenues, the multiplier-effect holds that Casinos affect economic development, create jobs and feed local retailers, restaurants and businesses. Although no better than a rough yardstick, the “multiplier effect” theorizes for every dollar spent in an entertainment attraction, many more dollars are spent in local employment, retail, hotels and restaurants.
The reality is that people want to gamble. Regulation creates artificial enemies and an artificial environment. For regulation in colonial America, only the King could grant a corporate charter under English law. Corporations, therefore, were a special, limited concession by the King to control power and increase wealth. Like corporations of old, the Chicago casino has a 40% tax rate on gross receipts, increasing the wealth of the sovereign (Illinois).
The past arguments to avoid a Chicago Casino have been finally drowned out by the rising volume for money that crescendo into a financial cacophony for more growth. Having represented dozens of companies in federal, state and local governmental contracts, experienced counsel will increase the likelihood of profitable contracts with government, letting business clients take advantage of the new opportunities.
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