December 16, 2009

City Council passes fine on video gambling machines; Crackdown in Racine coming?

This one slipped past us, and city officials probably don't mind that it did.

Tucked into Tuesday's City Council agenda under the "Public Safety and Licensing Committee Report" was this:
Subject: Ord. 24-09 , To amend Sec. 66-3(b) and 66-299 of the Municipal Code of the City of Racine, WI relating to Payment of forfeiture in lieu of court appearance; Penalty for violation.
Clearly newsworthy, right? Well, yes. This vaguely worded motion, passed at the Dec. 7 Public Safety and Licensing Committee meeting, may significantly cut back video gambling in the city.

State law allows Class B liquor license holders to install up to five video gambling machines. Several local bars and restaurants, as well as hundreds of other Class B license holders around Wisconsin, have taken advantage of the law as a way to make more money.

But several other businesses lacking Class B licenses - such as convenience stores - are also installing video gaming machines. That's technically a violation of the state law, which allows local governments to seize the machines, with money inside, and fine the businesses $500 per machine.

The local ordinance passed by the City Council on Tuesday night reflects the state law. It changes city code to allow a $500 fine per illegal machine and seizure of the machines. Section 66-299 of the city code previously allowed a court to order police to seize the machines, but did not include a fine.

So what does all of this mean?

It seems the city is gearing up a local effort of some kind to control video gambling in the city. As it stands, several local businesses are now in danger of receiving a $2,500 fine (most places have five machines) and seizure of their games. As to whether it happens is yet to be seen.

As for the obscure wording of the agenda item, that's my mistake. We need to pay closer attention to agenda items, particularly ones written predominantly in the language of city code.

29 comments:

  1. Bout time honestly fricken gas stations ?

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  2. You can't stop in for a soda without seeing some senior citizen gambling away their social security check. I say seize em all! Where do I sign up to help out?

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  3. Finally someone is doing something about this! First we let a bunch of pawn brokers and payday loan places move in. Then we let the corner station turn into ghetto-Patowatomi where the only people pumping dollars in are the people that can't afford it.

    Glad someone is cleaning this place up.

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  4. Gee will this slow Tom down?

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  5. You know what? If this city and state had half a brian they would just legalize it and tax the sh-it outta it and move on....people gamble

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  6. Tommy may not want to open another business now. That's 20K a month he can't depend on.

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  7. Anon 5:14,

    Does he have a "Class B" on Douglas? If so how would this law affect him? With a "Class B" Tom is doing it legally! Are you jelous you are unable to obtain these machines for your business?

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  8. Tavern League12/17/2009 6:14 AM

    Finally! I am a member of The Tavern League, and for years we have been pressing for this type of legilature! Great job! If needed we also have a list of sites violating the current law. There are about 90 illegal machine in Racine today that could equate to about $45,000 in fines and as much as $20,000 in seized revenue! Great job once again City Council.

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  9. Why do some idiots have to make every article in the Post about west Racine. Come "F"ing on people enough is enough! I get some of you are for it and some against. This is a serious issue that needs to be enforced. I believe that if a Class B is required to have the machines, then those that don't should be prosecuted for it!

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  10. Doing it without a class B liquor license is also a felony. Round them all up we could use the money.

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  11. The "machines" are legal in bars. The way they are used is not.

    Regulate and tax the revenue generated by the "legal" machines.

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  12. Conservatives should be outraged. This is a violation of free market principles.

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  13. Yeah...so is slavery, but it doesn't make it right.

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  14. @8:34 It's none of your business what people spend their money on. Why are you spending your money on soda?

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  15. Either you allow the every where or don't allow them at all. Why does a class of liquor license have anything to do with it??

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  16. I'm with 10:19.
    Why should I not be allowed to have one or five in my machine shop?
    For that matter, why should I (or anyone else) need a license?
    If the players don't like the odds, they can simply not play.

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  17. 10:32 - apparently you misconstrued my posting - read it again. " Why does a class of liquor license have anything to do with it??" However some may argue that the reason you should not have machines is that gambling in Wisconsin is illegal. As far as I am concerned - I don't give at rats ass either way.

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  18. Let all have them or let none. I vote none. If this is such an issue that it needs a crackdown, then they shouldn't be allowed period....especially around alcohol.

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  19. Legalize, regulate and tax gambling, prostitution and marijuana in Wisconsin.

    That would end 50% of our crime problems and 100% of our budget problems.

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  20. Voice of Reason12/17/2009 11:34 AM

    Orb, it would just move the pimps and mob bosses to Madison. Oh, wait...

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  21. I don't know how the city can justify this policy. What is the difference if someone gambles at a Class B,A,F,Z or any other letter location you want to put in front of it?

    Alcohol and gambling probably isn't the best combo for the city at all. These Class A taverns should have to step up and fund rehab facilities for alcohol and gambling addicts if they want to sell this stuff so that the sober taxpayers don't have to keep footing the bill for all of the fallout of these alcohol and gambling addicts.

    Get rid of all of these stupid machines at all locations.

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  22. ...sober taxpayers don't have to keep footing the bill for all of the fallout of these alcohol and gambling addicts...

    Why not simply stop doing this?

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  23. "Why not simply stop doing this?"

    OK - I'll do that as soon as you outlaw drinking and gambling.

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  24. I don’t understand why so many people keep attacking Tom Tousis on this issue. It has been stated time-and-time-again in several articles concerning these machines and Tom’s proposed project: Tom Tousis flatly stated at a public meeting two months ago that he WILL NOT have the gambling machines in the West Racine project. Over 175 people heard him say it when he was questioned about it. If he does not keep his word on that, then we should boycott the business.

    OrbsCorbs said, “Legalize, regulate and tax gambling, prostitution and marijuana in Wisconsin,” and agree with him 100%. The money that is spent fighting these things, that so many want legalized, could be put to better use elsewhere, it could free up untold man-hours of the police departments time (as well as the courts), and the tax revenue realized from it could be a real boost. I may not take advantage of any of these vices, but at least my tax dollars wouldn’t be wasted fighting them. In fact, maybe we should build a casino on the lakefront. Imagine the revenue THAT would bring into the city.

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  25. Is Tom Tousis the only one in Racine with these machines?

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  26. These machines are in the back corners of many of the convenience store gas stations all over the city.

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  27. 2:27 - you don't get out much, do you?

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  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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