Too many gaming licenses?

Two weeks ago, discussion about gaming held during a Vandalia City Council meeting was published in this newspaper. When I read that Vandalia had 16 licenses and Decatur 20, I thought it was a misprint. It was not.  
Decatur’s approximate population rounded off to 80,000, divided by the number of places to game, shows that their alderman are providing a place to game for every 4,000 people; Vandalia, with a population of 6,000 (excluding inmates at the Vandalia Correctional Center and Work Camp), does much better, with a place to game for every 375 men, women and children.
Then, add in the number of terminals at each site – up to five – and our odds are much better that if we have an extra dollar, we can gamble it away.
Most recent figures from the Illinois Gaming Board tells that statewide gamblers played $2.6 billion in two years, totaling about $721 million in losses. Monthly wagering doubled last year and peaked at $59 million in August 2017.
In Illinois, the split of the take is pretty cut and dried: 25 percent goes to the state; 5 percent of gambling revenue goes to the municipality; less than a percent pays for system monitoring; and the rest is split between the business and the machine operator.
The Leader-Union reports that according to the ordinance the ball is firmly in the lap of the council, who can create, transfer and control the number of gaming licenses in Vandalia.
Don’t like to say it, but in my opinion the numerous video poker and gaming signs do not give our town a good look.
Does Vandalia need more gaming licenses?   
Linda Hanabarger


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