Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No Need

Wheeling Council has tightened regulations for video lottery parlors in town. Councilman Seals says it will cut down on "nuisance activites" such as "late hours", "fighting and drinking in public".

Of course, the new regulation will do no such thing.

Those nuisance actitvities happen in bars and taverns, licensed by the state ABCC. The so-called "lottery lounges" that have been proliferating are in coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries and the like. The new ordinance grandfathers all existing video parlours into compliance, exempts the downtown area, all industrial zones, and "redevelopment" zones. Current zoning already prohibits them in residential areas.

What MIGHT happen, however, is that the one area of Wheeling that is relatively video-slot-free could see new ones coming. "Out the Pike", through parts of Woodsdale, Edgington Lane, there are only a handful of such places (compared to other parts of the City). If someone wants a piece of the very lucrative lottery pie, they might find it hard to open up in Warwood, Elm Grove, or elsehwere where there are already a lot of lounges. But there are some good sites within the "Out The Pike" area that are NOT within a thousand feet of another such lounge. That's where I would go if I wanted in the business.

Council is well meaning in this effort. They are responding to the perceived unhappiness of the public with the video parlor proliferation. But I have said for months, that the problems are PERCEIVED and not real in Wheeling. I have yet to see a single piece of evidence that there is more crime, more drunkeness, more loitering around the lottery lounges. There ARE such problems around taverns that have the machines....but it is the TAVERN not the machines that create the difficulty.

It's feel good legislation that probably does no harm, but does no real good either.

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