On April 9, Highland voters rejected video gambling in Highland by a 60 percent to 40 percent 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 Gaming (gambling) Board provides the following statistics: Highland gamblers lost a staggering $186,385.11 between October 2012 and March 31. Of this amount, $9,319 went to the municipality. However, $177,065.89 went to concerns from Las Vegas, the state of Illinois, and to local tavern owners. 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 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 citywide referendum?
Philip W. Chapman