Schaumburg should tread lightly on video gambling
Village of Schaumburg leaders are currently considering approval for video gambling in our community. These are the colorful devices seen in establishments that hold liquor licenses and actually serve alcoholic beverages. It is my understanding that the issue has come before the village trustees because businesses in Schaumburg believe that they are at a competitive disadvantage compared to similar businesses in surrounding towns that already offer video gambling. This argument has merit, but there is another side of to this issue.
For 24 years, I've volunteered my time in social service agencies that dealt with clients with addiction problems -- booze, drugs, gambling -- you name it. From this experience, I learned about the wreckage that addictions cause for individuals, marriages, families, and careers.
These social costs of video gambling are costly. Who picks up the tab when individuals lose everything via gambling and find themselves without food, rent or gas money for their families; or require counseling or medical care; or get tangled up with the judicial system? It's the rest of us -- the taxpayers, not the gambling industry profiteers.
Most disturbing, video gambling establishments create a "draw" for our kids. In 2018, the largest number of video gambling complaints to the Illinois Gaming Board involved "underage play" (play by those under 21 -- which is the legal age).
Finally, video gambling doesn't really do much for a local economy. Money spent on video gambling is money that won't be spent on other goods and services in our town. So, businesses that want video gambling will be winners; but other businesses in town will be losers. The other winners will include out-of-town video gambling industry promoters.
Our village leaders have more data than I do and should know this is a bad idea. I ask that they tread carefully.
Charles F. Falk