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Save The Stat Man's Job, Gov. Quinn

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Save The Stat Man's Job, Gov. Quinn

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'Can't Gamble Your Way to Prosperity': Quinn

A day after he announced he would veto the current gambling bill, Gov. Pat Quinn stood firm on slimming down an Illinois gaming proposal to five casinos and refusing to add slot machines.

Gov. Quinn Would Veto Casino Bill

Gov. Pat Quinn says slots at airports and racetracks are out, but there's still hope for a Chicago casino.
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Here’s what my friend The Stat Man had to say after Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the gambling expansion that would have put slots in racetracks.

“Now many of us get to wait and see how long we have jobs in Illinois. Or at least year-round jobs. Thanks Gov. Quinn (ptooey!)”

The Stat Man is a gambling nerd who makes his living as a handicapper for The Green Sheet, a tout service that bills itself as “Illinois Sports News Finest Little Newspaper.” His job is to pick winners for gamblers too lazy to read the Daily Racing Form themselves.

You’ll rarely see The Stat Man at Hawthorne Race Course or Arlington Park. Most days, he’s at home, watching race replays and studying the past performances of horse. When he does make it out to the track, he always brings along his laptop computer, which contains records of races run in Chicago for the last 20 years. That’s why he’s called The Stat Man.

If Hawthorne and/or Arlington close as a result of Gov. Quinn’s decision not to allow slots at racetracks, The Stat Man will have fewer tracks to handicap. And if The Stat Man has fewer tracks to handicap, he may run into financial difficulties. The last time The Stat Man lost work, during the recession of 2008 and 2009, he also lost his condo to foreclosure.
   
After The Stat Man was evicted, he spent the next five months living in Your Ward Room Blogger’s spare bedroom. The Stat Man was a quiet boarder: he spent almost all his time in the bedroom, with the door closed, handicapping horses. Every week or so, he emerged to cash a check or take the bus to Wendy’s, his favorite restaurant. The Stat Man is a big guy, so he broke the slats on my couch. After he left, I threw it out and bought a new one.

Your Ward Room Blogger is always glad to help a friend who’s fallen on hard times, but I was also glad to get my spare bedroom back, because I use it for blogging. I don’t want The Stat Man to lose his job. If he loses his job, he may lose his new apartment. And if he loses his apartment…

That’s why I’m glad to hear that state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, introduced a new gambling bill on Wednesday. It puts the Illinois Gaming Board in charge of a Chicago casino, answering one of Quinn’s main concerns. But it also provides for slots at racetracks. The General Assembly isn’t budging on that one. As WBEZ reported, “Link said slots at racetracks bring more than 20 votes to the bill. Without it, he can’t pass any gambling expansion legislation, he said.”

So please, Gov. Quinn, compromise on slots for racetracks. The Stat Man needs a job. And I need my spare bedroom.

Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, is available on Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!

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