As we know the city council will be voting on a 2nd reading Tuesday night to CAP the number of video lottery licenses in Sioux Falls (Item #23)
Background & Objective: The proposal limits the number of video lottery placements for malt beverage and wine licensed establishments to 160. The authorized number of video lottery machine placements will increase every even numbered year based on population growth. When the additional lottery placements become available, the ordinance provides for a lottery.
Item #24 would cap malt beverage licenses for casino locations to three;
Background & Objective: The proposed ordinance clarifies 111.021 by stating that there can be no more than three malt beverage/wine premises that share an opening for employees, refrigeration, etc., but is not accessible to the public.
As I have said in the past, I do support the cap, but it really should have happened 20 years ago. Siouxfalls.business and Sioux Falls city Councilor Merkouris touched on the dilemma;
For a while, I’ve watched new video lottery casinos open or expand and wondered about the market that is driving them. They wouldn’t be open unless people were supporting them and the business model penciled out, right?
So when Councilor Rich Merkouris told me he’d visited dozens of casinos in the past two months in putting potential ordinance changes together, I asked for his impressions.
“Every one is so different,” he said. “Sometimes, you go in, and there’s only one person sitting there. For an hour and a half.”
Many of the customers he talked with represent people living paycheck to paycheck, he said. And while, in the worst cases, an entire paycheck might be spent in a casino, in most instances these are people just wanting to unwind with the hope of a win.
That is the problem with video lottery, does the revenue from it cover the social ills that come with crime and addiction associated with gambling? I am not sure, because like TIFs, I don’t think the state has ever done a comprehensive study to determine what those costs are.
Jodi thinks people are gambling because of hope;
We all, at our core, hope tomorrow is going to be better than today or yesterday. How we define “better” might vary, but that’s the root of everything from a political movement to what prompts someone to play a game of chance.
People gamble because of addiction, not hope, but the real hope could come from beating your addiction.
As a local governing body, the Sioux Falls city council does have the authority and the justification to cap video lottery, I am not sure they have the votes. Mayor TenHaken did tell the The Dakota Scout that he would vote for the cap if it ends up being a tie.