Video gambling isn’t legal in O’Fallon yet, but it’s a safe bet that the City Council will approve it tonight.
The council already gave it preliminary approval by an 8-6 vote. That mirrors the will of the voters, who voted 52 percent to 48 percent in November to allow video gambling. The video machines are in nearby communities and unincorporated St. Clair County, and the lure of some extra dollars for the city and some businesses probably will be just too much to resist.
But while it may be inevitable, that doesn’t mean it’s desirable to have machines in every corner tavern and fraternal lodge. The Illinois Casino Gaming Association says Illinois has more than 19,000 video gambling machines now, or the equivalent of 16 casinos. Video poker is considered the crack cocaine of gambling, so expect more compulsive gambling, addictions and the societal problems that come with making gambling so accessible and acceptable.
O’Fallon knows this; that’s why its leaders resisted approving gambling’s spread for years. Too bad that sentiment apparently isn’t going to prevail.