Letter from our Lobbyist

By Bill Smythe

On Tuesday Oct. 27, Tim Dwyer , myself and our coalition partner Ron Breymier with the ILBA met with Brian Bosma, Speaker of the House, in his office. The primary focus of the meeting was to introduce Tim and Shaffer Distributing to the Speaker.

We did get a few minutes to discuss VGT’s with the Speaker and our role ( the IAMOA’s) in the coalition as the “operators” should it come to fruition. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Speaker was less then encouraging but we knew that going into the meeting . Overall it was productive and I can’t stress enough how important it is that our members repeat this as often as possible with their representatives.

Following the meeting with the Speaker was a separate meeting with the House Chair and Vice Chair of Ways and Means ( basically the budget guys ), along with coalition partners Ron Breymier ( ILBA), Rick Cockrum (truck stops), Michael Biberstine (J&J) and myself.

This meeting went very well as and it was said that using our bill to fund roads was a “no brainer”. Still, they recognized the heavy lift it would take to get an expansion of gaming passed. It was said that as a standalone bill our initiative likely has no chance of passing, but if it is part of his budget “then anything is possible”. Keep in mind this isn’t a budget session but they do have to address infrastructure spending and see this as a way to help out the “locals” without any tax increases.

I think this is the likely avenue the coalition will pursue for this upcoming session. What our members must do immediately is to reach out and make sure their representatives know who they are and what they do . It is not necessary to dive into explaining VGT’s, but if this gains traction the General Assembly needs to know who is going to operate these things and that they are qualified.