The 21st Show

Lawmakers’ Ties To Video Gambling; McDonald’s Walkouts And Lawsuits; Artisans Of Illinois


A player swipes the screen on a video poker machine at the Monte Bar and Casino in Billings, Montana, Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

As lawmakers consider raising taxes on the video gambling industry, ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ report on several powerful lawmakers from both parties who have direct financial ties to the industry. Plus, last week, activists and workers’ rights groups organized walkouts and filed lawsuits against McDonald’s, for everything from higher wages, union rights, and reports of violence in the workplace. And, if you’re planning to hit the road for the perfect summer day trip, we’ll speak with some of the artisans and restaurateurs featured as Illinois makers.

Ten years ago, state lawmakers legalized video gambling in Illinois. Since then, more than 30,000 machines have been installed across the state — more than anywhere else in the country.

And throughout the years, the video gambling industry has also developed closer and closer ties with state legislators of both parties. In some cases, those ties haven’t been disclosed to the public.

Now,  as the General Assembly considers increasing taxes on video gambling machines, new reporting from ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Chicago shows that several prominent lawmakers would be directly affected by this proposal and others.

Jason Grotto from ProPublica Illinois is one of the reporters who worked on this.


Fight for 15 and other workers’ rights groups gathered for a series of rallies and walkouts across the US, timed with the fast food giant’s annual shareholder meeting.

Activists have done this before. In years’ past, there have been protests on everything from wages to the treatment of animals.

But this year, there was some of that and a lot more. In addition to higher wages and union rights, dozens of complaints have been filed, alleging violence, sexual harassment and retaliation in McDonald’s locations all over the country. In fact, Bloomberg labor reporter Josh Eidelson writes that every 36 hours, local news outlets deliver a new report on violence at a McDonald’s.

Eidelson joined us along with Emily Twarog, an associate professor at the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations.


Looking for that perfect summer day trip destination? Look no further than the list of Illinois makers from the Illinois Office of Tourism. They have compiled dozens of Illinois restaurants, artisans and other small businesses from all around the state for their Illinois Made program. Three of those makers were with us on the line.

Amy Mills is the co-owner of 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro. Devon Flesor is the co-owner of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola. Brian Frieze is the founder of Sangamon Reclaimed which manufactures furniture out of reclaimed wood from old barns and buildings in Springfield.

Story source: WILL