Fetcher Bills Are Good For Political Business

Ever wondered about the plethora of gambling bills that American politicians introduce and then allow to die?

When it comes to gambling, the American political landscape is notorious for the introduction of a plethora of bills that never seem to go anywhere, but there's a reason for these, claims an op-ed article in the respected Chicago Tribune this week.

The process and intentions around such bills has earned them the soubriquet "fetcher bills" among lobbyists and politicians, the newspaper explains — they fetch campaign donations, and then usually fade away.

The article examines this mainly land-based gambling phenomenon, but one can see similarities in the internet gambling battle for legitimacy that has raged for so many years in the US, thanks to a range of vested interests.

The Tribune points to the tedious rise and fall of gambling bills every year, suggesting that perhaps that is what lawmakers want and pointing out that there's a lot of money to be made by perpetuating gridlock.

"Dozens of lobbyists, lawyers and consultants earn paychecks by trying to push or suppress gambling legislation. If there were no gambling bill in the offing … there might be no payday," the newspaper posits.

"Lots of money goes into promoting and defeating fetcher bills. The primary legislative sponsors of gambling bills have received generous campaign contributions from casino operators and from other organizations trying to influence the fate of the bills.

"If gambling expansion finally got resolved – showering the state with new casinos, new slots at tracks, more competition for existing casinos, whatever – that money might dry up," the article asserts, concluding that stalemate on gaming expansion remains a lucrative business.

"A bill gets filed, then amended, then eaten alive and, finally, stalled. Meanwhile, the checks keep rolling in to legislators, lobbyists, lawyers, consultants…"

In Illinois, the Tribune's home state, Governor Pat Quinn is trying to stem the tide by refusing to sign into law any casino expansion bill with weak ethical protections.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-illinois-gambling-casino-legislature-edit-0612–20140612,0,1453276.story

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