Geneseo, IL – Video gambling machines won’t be found in Geneseo bars or gas stations. At the Tuesday, Sept. 22 committee of the whole meeting, aldermen voted against forwarding a proposal to allow video gaming to the October city council meeting. As a result of the vote’s failure, Geneseo’s current ban on video gambling will remain in force.
Concerned citizens and leaders from local churches voiced their opinions at the meeting:
- “The Geneseo Ministerial Association is united in support of a city-wide ban on video gaming,” said Graham, adding he felt allow video gaming would go against the city’s “family friendly” atmosphere.
- The Rev. Dr. Chris Ritter of First United Methodist Church said he felt video gambling would “suck money out of our economy.” He added, “Gambling preys upon people with weakness” and urged the council not to “invest in human weakness.” Ritter said even though surrounding communities have permitted video gambling, he supported Geneseo’s ban. “If the rest of Illinois is zigging, I’m OK with zagging.”
- “What kind of community do we want to be? Do we want to be common, or do we want our community to be special? One of the most family-friendly places in Illinois?” asked the Rev. Stephen Palm of Geneseo Evangelical Free Church. “Video gambling machines make a statement to our young, and that statement is that gambling is OK.”
- Citizen Scott Johnson told the council he saw video gambling as part of unhealthy gambling expansion in the state, adding gambling in Illinois has gone from “historical” boats that were required to cruise, to dock-side gambling to “boat in a moat” casinos to local video gambling. “It keeps expanding, expanding and expanding, and it’s supposed to be an economic boom for Illinois, but the state’s not in better shape now than it was before,” Johnson noted.
- Resident Jim Mason agreed. “The state’s worse off than it was,” he said, adding “Gambling hurts the people who can least afford it. There are a whole lot of people in town who can’t afford to spend $20 or $40 for ‘entertainment.’”