Pastors protest video gambling ordinance

Quincy pastors meet at city hall to protest proposed video gambling ordinance.

Should they or shouldn't they?

That's the question before the Quincy City Council regarding and ordinance to allow video gambling in the city.

There are strong voices on both sides of the issue.

On Thursday afternoon KHQA's Stephen Johnson went to City Hall where one of those groups gathered to show its opposition to the plan.

Pastor Tom Rains is a member of the Christian Ministers Fellowship and is concerned that Quincy residents will not get an opportunity to vote on this measure," Rains said. "Good government I believe would dictate the fact that citizens have the opportunity to give their input to those who are representing them."

And that's just one of the biggest concerns of the ministers and religious leaders who gathered on the steps of Quincy City Hall Thursday.

Some supporters of the plan say that it could mean a new revenue stream for the city. But Quincy Mayor John Spring says that all the details have not been worked out.

"First of all the state will take 30%, that's part of the equation and where that money goes is going as far as the state is concerned is to pay for their capital bill," Spring said. "The Macomb bypass would be an example of that. We are to receive 5% of that 30%. But I'm not sure how the formula will play out."

Another big concerns of this group is the long term moral impact increased gambling would have on this community.

Bruce Rice is the Executive Director of WGCA FM a Christian radio station based in Quincy.

He says it's foolish to think that allowing increased gambling in the city will not have a negative affect on the community.

"I think it's delusional to think that video gambling is going to have a positive impact and enhance the lives of Quincy residents . I just don't think that's going to happen. I think it's a moral issue," Rice said.

One man who knows that all to well is Rev. Rod Bakker who saw first hand the impact of gambling when a member of his church gambled away thousands of dollars of the church's money.

"Unfortunately the people that lost the most were not the people of the church, but the missions that we supported. Salvation Army, a medical mission group is Central America and various other missionaries throughout the world," Bakker said.

Bruce Rice is worried about the long term impact of allowing video gambling in Quincy. "We have a great quality of life. How is this going to enhance the quality of life that we have now in Quincy, Illinois?" he said. "I don't think that it will. I think it will denigrate it."

The group had high praise for members of the city council, but believes that something this important to the welfare of the community, must be voted on by the citizens and not decided by a quick vote of the council.

The council will give the ordinance a third and possible final reading on Monday night, July 30th.