By: Diane Benjamin
The Normal Town Council made some people very happy last night – the current video game owners!
The Council voted to delay approving any new video gaming licenses until at least the end of the year. Essentially government said the existing guys don’t need any competition. Therefore, the profits of current owners are protected by government. The meeting documentation says 10 locations presently have video gaming. Page 64 http://normal.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2154
What if 20 locations had gaming? Profits would be spread wider and video gaming wouldn’t be as attractive to the 10 current owners. It’s called competition and free markets. More choices mean less concentrated profits. Current owners may need to payout more to attract customers. Normal claims they are receiving a large number of inquiries for licenses. They charge $500 a year per license, so they are giving up easy income.
The documentation claims the Council is worried about “gaming parlors” who sell very little food and liquor. That one is easy and should have been obvious – limit the number of machines in each establishment. If Las Vegas in Normal offends them, the planners failed at planning.
One Council member was concerned about the more than $5 Million dropped in the machines. He failed to mention the almost $4.5 Million paid out. (The media did too!) All that money didn’t disappear. People have a right to spend where they want – at least for now.
If the Council is really worried about gambling junkies throwing their money away, they could have donated the Town’s profits to a rehab program. From January through July it was $74,656.
If I lived in Normal, I’d be more worried about the Town spending more on entertainment for citizens than it does on roads: (See page 106)