Carbondale approves cap on video gambling machines - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Carbondale approves cap on video gambling machines

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CARBONDALE -- Carbondale leaders have approved new rules limiting the total number of video gambling machines allowed at local businesses.

A new ordinance caps the number of video gaming machines allowed in town at 100. Right now there are 69, according to city records. 

Local residents who spoke out during a council meeting Tuesday night said they were happy to see city leaders crack down.

"I wholly view the gambling that we see in our city as a poor tax," said Nathan Columbo, a Carbondale resident.

City leaders say slot machines have greatly expanded in the last few years and it's giving Carbondale a negative image.

"The video games might not be presenting the best image that Carbondale wants to portray," say Carbondale City Manager Gary Williams.

Local business owners disagree, claiming slot machines have never scared off customers. 

Councilman Adam Loos voted 'yes' for the slot machine cap, arguing the bigger concern is the well being of residents.

"The people who tend to loose money on gambling tend to be the people who can afford it least," Loos said.

Some residents said they would support efforts in the future to further reduce video gambling at local businesses.

"It's not about flashing lights in the background while I'm eating dinner. It's about a person who can't feed their family because they have a gambling problem," Columbo said.

Carbondale does generate tax revenue from video gaming machines, about $120,000 per year. But it's not enough to make city leaders think twice about cracking down.

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