Cumberland Times-News

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July 23, 2013

Ridgeley to clear proposed slots law with W.Va. officials

Ex-Mineral sheriff joins police force

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — The mayor and town council of Ridgeley voted Tuesday to hold off on taking a final vote on a new law, which would limit the number of slots operating in the town to 35, until they can make sure it doesn’t conflict with any state laws.

With a new establishment known as the Canal Hot Spot set to open in two weeks, officials have been trying to place a limit on the number of video lottery machines operating in the town to prevent the future expansion of gaming in the community.

The Hot Spot, a small operation with a fire marshal capacity limit of 13, plans to operate five slots, which would bring the total number of video lottery terminals in Ridgeley to the planned maximum of 35.

However, Mayor Lynn Carr raised concerns that the new ordinance may fall into conflict with West Virginia state laws on the topic.

“We need to make sure we are not trying to overstep a state law or state code,” said Carr.

The council agreed with Carr’s concern and voted 5 to 1 in favor of a motion to research the possibility of a conflict before taking a final vote.

Councilman Don McFarland has been the lone holdout against placing limits on the number of video lottery machines operating in Ridgeley.

 “If a business comes into town, he has a right to make a living. Why punish him when all these other places have machines,” said McFarland.

McFarland also feels that the town can benefit from the revenue brought in from gaming.

In addition to limiting the number of slots, the council placed language in the ordinance that would prohibit any additional gaming establishments from locating in Ridgeley.

“The town will not allow any new establishments to have video lottery machines,” Carr said when reading the ordinance.

The time needed to research state laws will delay the vote until the next council meeting on Aug. 13.

 In other town council news, former Mineral County Sheriff Craig Fraley has accepted a position with the Ridgeley Police Department.

Fraley, who was narrowly defeated by Jeremy Taylor in his attempt to be re-elected in November as sheriff, was sworn in after the council meeting. He will be a part-time police officer.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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