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Video poker would bring in money, but is it ethical?

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    Faced with an $11 billion deficit, lawmakers in favor of legalizing and taxing video gaming machines said they have to consider the option, but the prospect angers anti-gambling groups, who say it's an unethical way to raise state revenue.

    Some state lawmakers hope to hit the jackpot by legalizing video gambling in a move to help with the state's capital improvements.

    Faced with an $11 billion deficit, lawmakers in favor of legalizing and taxing video gaming machines said they have to consider the option, but the prospect angers anti-gambling groups, who say it's an unethical way to raise state revenue.

    Under the proposed law, the state would get at least 25 percent of the proceeds, which could mean between $300 and $750 million per year.

    Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said they're open to the idea.

    Video Poker Could Be Financial Windfall, But at What Cost?

    [CHI] Video Poker Could Be Financial Windfall, But at What Cost?
    Legalizing video poker machines and taxing them could bring big bucks, but some say it's an unethical way to raise money. (Published Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009)

    "They're looking for revenue sources," Daley said. "Everyone's looking for a revenue source."

    Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart hates the idea.

    "There's loads of ways you can raise money, but the question is whether or not they're smart ways and whether, frankly, they're ethical ways to do it, and that's not it," Dart said.

    And while some bar owners think it may be a good way to get people inside their doors buying drinks, others think regulating the machines could be a logistical hassle and not worth the trouble.

    The Illinois Senate approved the big money-making deal on Wednesday in a 47-12 vote. The measure now moves to the House.