‘We got trouble, yes sir, right here in River City.”
It is not exactly the trouble that Professor Harold Hill feared in River City, Iowa, but the message was the same — that vice (in the form of pool in the case of The Music Man) would corrupt the youth of the community.
In Riverside, the “vice” is video gambling and what would happen if it came to the village.
Gambling is defined as wagering of money or something material, and gaming is something permitted by law. We have examples of gambling going on in town in various forms; most people have “gambled” in some form or another.
Know of any poker games at someone’s home? Bought any lotto tickets lately? Does the sight of lotto machines in stores bother you? Well, none of it bothers me and if it can help the local businesses, I am for it, and the town will profit also.
The people who will be using the video gaming machines are not big-time gamblers and they will not be gambling away the family inheritance. Real gamblers will be going to the boats or heading out to Las Vegas.
A few machines will not make Riverside the next gambling mecca of the western suburbs. Besides, how many people are going to risk getting lost in the town to seek out those few machines?
There has been mention of exposing our young people to gambling. Well, I think they have already been exposed to it and a few other things. It could present another learning experience for the young people, with parents explaining what it is and what it is all about — the good and the bad — much like explaining why Uncle Waldo (fictitious name) always slurs his words and falls asleep at family get-togethers. I am more concerned about the video games kids play.
I remember the uproar when liquor became legal Riverside, but it worked out because there are ordinances and they are enforced.
I never thought I would be sitting in Guthrie Park with a beer in my hand. None of us remembers what went on in the early days of the town; we survived.
My recommendation, the village draws up an ordinance and, after a year, review it. Having an ordinance and enforcing it are the main things, and I believe this village board can handle it.
Want to bet on it?