Geneseo Split on Video Gambling Ban - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Geneseo Split on Video Gambling Ban



     The race for the White House wasn't the only thing people were voting for on Tuesday. Some voiced their vote on whether or not to ban video gambling. Geneseo is one of hundreds of communities across Illinois that hasn't decided on it and now it seems the town is divided.
      When asked the question "Should video gaming be prohibited in the city of Geneseo?" 1,713 said yes and 1,730 voted no - a difference of just 17. This was an opinion referendum only, but it doesn't leave city leaders with much indication one way or the other when it's time for them to make a decision.
     "I was surprised it was that close. I really thought it was going to be a lopsided vote either for or against," said Dave Paxton, Administrator of the Geneseo Moose Lodge #990.
      Residents voiced their opinion just a month after video gambling got up and running in dozens of establishments across the state. Now it's up to city leaders to consider what the polls produced and make a decision. 
     "The pressure is really going to be on them now because if it had been one sided either way that would have helped them make up their minds," added Paxton.
      Video gambling is something the Moose Lodge board has been talking about since Illinois approved it in 2009. "We've had a couple companies in to tell us about the rental of the machines. If the city council approves it, we are going to pursue a gaming license," added Paxton.
      Mayor Linda Van Der Leest says there are many ways to interpret the outcome of the vote. "It may indicate a shift in some of people's thinking." But the near 50-50 split has her questioning if voters did their homework before heading to the polls. "Did people really understand the question? Did they really understand what video gaming is?"
      Either way, city leaders will take the results and chose to roll the dice or not.  "It's about hearing their voices and that's really why we had an advisory referendum and allow people to have a statement," added Van Der Leest.
     She expects the issue to come up for discussion at one of the next committee of the whole meetings.


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