What happened when Illinois legalized machines known as “the crack cocaine of gambling”.
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For more in-depth reporting, check out ProPublica Illinois’ feature piece on video gambling: https://features.propublica.org/the-bad-bet/how-illinois-bet-on-video-gambling-and-lost/ And if you want more of their articles, you can sign up for their newsletter here: https://go.propublica.org/ppil-vox
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Nearly a decade ago, Illinois lawmakers legalized video gambling. They hoped that the machines, which offered up electronic versions of games like slots or poker, would generate billions of dollars of revenue for the state. So they passed a bill quickly, with little debate, to expand the industry dramatically. Illinois now has more than 30,000 of these machines, and more locations to legally place a bet than Nevada.
A ProPublica Illinois investigation has found that the expansion of video gambling hasn’t pulled Illinois out of debt — it’s actually accelerated it. While people in Illinois have gambled a lot more on machines that can be highly addictive, most of the additional money has ended up in the hands of a small group of companies behind video gambling.
Watch the video above to find out what this could mean for the states and cities across the country considering gambling expansions.
Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.
Previous headline: Video gambling: Not a great way to fund a government
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