Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said he’s no fan of video gambling but may still veto the city’s newly extended moratorium on new machines.
Aldermen on Monday voted 5-4 to extend the ban on new video gaming terminals to Sept. 1, past the staff-recommended date of April 9. Alderman Kim Bray offered Sept. 1 for the moratorium’s expiration date because it falls after the end of the next legislative session in Springfield. State lawmakers are expected to introduce bills to legalize recreational marijuana and sports betting.
Speaking Tuesday on GLT’s Sound Ideas, Renner said he would’ve favored the shorter extension of the moratorium. Renner said he wishes state lawmakers had never legalized video gambling, but now that it’s here he questions what a longer moratorium will accomplish.
“It has an impact on businesses. It has an impact on nonprofits. The Knights of Columbus feels like they’ve been caught in the cracks. There have been several sales of properties and expansions of businesses that have been held up frankly because of video gaming,” Renner said.
That echoes comments from Alderman Karen Schmidt on Monday night.
“I see businesses left in limbo and that makes me uncomfortable,” said Schmidt, who represents Ward 6.
If Renner vetoes the Sept. 1 moratorium, he said he’s likely to pursue a shorter ban—perhaps through July 1—and consider exemptions for nonprofit social clubs.
“It would mean we come back to the table. The moratorium will continue. The question is how long,” Renner said. “That’s what I need to think about over the next few days.”