Cumberland Times-News

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August 10, 2013

W.Va. commission OKs Ridgeley request to limit lotto machines

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — Town officials have the green light from the West Virginia Lottery Commission to proceed with an ordinance that would limit the number of video lottery machines in Ridgeley to 35 as long as it doesn’t supersede the state’s regulations, according to Mayor Lynn Carr. The final approval of the ordinance was tabled during the July council meeting so officials could do more research to ensure the ordinance doesn’t conflict with state regulations.

The state recommends that municipalities be limited to 35 video lottery machines and should that number change the ordinance would have to adhere to the change, according to Carr.

“We want to limit it because presently we have four businesses on the main drag that have lottery and another one moving in,” Carr told MetroNews. “We’d like for it to be more of a small town than a gambling strip.”

The ordinance came about after residents and council members voiced their opposition to the proposed Canal Hotspot, a tavern that plans to have five video lottery machines. The Canal Hotspot would bring the total number of video lottery machines in town to 35. The ordinance states that the town will not allow, “any new establishments to have any video lottery machines.”

Businesses or organizations wishing to have video lottery machines must first obtain permission from the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration. The video lottery machines must then be approved by the council and town through correspondence and meetings, according to the ordinance.

“The state then has a state code appeal process when agreements are at odds,” states the ordinance.

The ABCA issued the Canal Hotspot a Class A/tavern nonintoxicating-beer-only license with restrictions in June.

During a meeting in July the council voted 5-1, with Councilman Don McFarland voting against, to do more research on the ordinance.

“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 during the meeting.

Councilman Dr. Richard Lechliter tried to enact the same ordinance in 2010 while he was mayor, but it was voted down during the third and final reading.

The approval of the video lottery machine ordinance is on the agenda for the Tuesday council meeting at 6 p.m. at the Ridgeley Town Hall.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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