Here’s what ought to happen – it might not actually play out this way, but it should – when the Riverside Village Board again takes up the subject of video gambling: Village trustees ought to recognize a loser of an issue when they see one and chloroform any attempt to drag this out any longer.
Back in 2015, the overwhelming public commentary was against allowing video gambling in Riverside, and that doesn’t seem to have changed. Riversiders just don’t want this.
Furthermore, we don’t see video gambling as something overwhelmingly desired by the local businesses that would potentially benefit from it. Right now there is, officially, one business owner requesting video gambling.
The Riverside Chamber of Commerce has not stated a position on the subject, and the village’s Economic Development Commission has already recommended maintaining a ban on video gambling.
Unlike some communities, Riverside government doesn’t stand to take in much in the way of revenues from gambling and whatever money gambling would bring in isn’t the difference between Riverside providing services to its residents or making cuts to services.
Simply put, there is very little the village as whole is poised to gain by the introduction of video gambling. While we understand the motivation for wanting local businesses to have every competitive advantage, what video gambling ends up doing is creating disadvantage for those businesses unable or unwilling to get with the program.
The real beneficiaries of the new revenues are the gaming machine vendors; that’s why they have spent so much money courting local politicians, to pave the way for them to reap profits that could be going to buy other goods and services locally.
Riverside residents have spoken pretty passionately and clearly on video gambling over the last two years. They are sure to do so again on Thursday night. And the village board should take the hint.