Cumberland Times-News

July 11, 2013

Ridgeley pulling to limit video lottery machines

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Ridgeley Town Council is once again trying to pass an ordinance that would limit the number of video lottery machines in the town.

The council voted 4-1 recently, with Councilman Don McFarland opposed, to approve the first reading of a limited video lottery machine ordinance.

The ordinance would limit the amount of video lottery machines in town to 35, according to Dr. Richard Lechliter, councilman.

The ordinance came about after residents and council members voiced their opposition to Canal Hotspot, a tavern that’s set to open with video lottery machines.

“It is not the proper influence for our youth, and not the reputation we wish non-residents to think of Ridgeley as — the community of bars and gaming machines,” Lechliter said during a May hearing of the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration regarding Canal Hotspot.

Currently, there are 30 machines in operation in town and five new machines will be added once the Canal Hotspot is up and running, according to Lechliter.

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

Canal Hotspot had yet to apply for a town license as of Tuesday, according to Lechliter.  

Council members Butch Hawse and Bill Shepherd were instrumental in circulating a petition signed by 241 residents that opposed Canal Hotspot.

“For 60 years, we have been fighting a name that Ridgeley has acquired for all those years — as a place to come drink and gamble,” said Shepherd during the hearing.

The public will have a chance to comment on the ordinance during a public hearing July 23.

A second and third reading of the ordinance will be held during that meeting if there are no amendments.

If the ordinance makes it to the third reading, the council will vote on it at that time.

In 2010, Lechliter, who was mayor at the time, proposed the same ordinance but it was voted down during the third and final reading.

McFarland voted against the ordinance in 2010, stating, “If a business applied for machines with the state, for the town council to say that you can’t have them, I don’t think that’s fair.”

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