Highland should let the people decide on gambling referendum

By The Madison County Record | Apr 23, 2013

To the Editor:

On April 9 Highland voters rejected video gambling in Highland by a 60 to 40 margin. Many people deem 1,100 a representative sample which expresses the entire community’s opinion.  Do  the voters know something the City Council failed to consider when the Council voted to allow video gambling in Highland?

The Illinois State Board of Gaming (Gambling) provides the following statistics:

Highland gamblers lost a staggering $186,385.11 between October 2012 and March 31, 2013. Of this amount $9,319.22 went to the municipality. However, $177,065.89 went to concerns from Las Vegas,  the State of Illinois and to local tavern owners.

The City of Highland pumps its money outside of town while a few individuals take in the local profits. Tavern owners collectively make seven times the amount the City takes in from gambling! Is it any wonder those who provide the machines say "gamble responsibly" or that proponents advise their patrons (local gamblers) to set aside a specific weekly amount to lose?

Given the staggering gambling losses and the recent 60 percent landslide vote, do you think the City Council should outlaw the machines or provide an opportunity for the voters to have a  binding city wide referendum?

Philip W. Chapman


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