Lottery denies neighborhood request to limit outlets

Lottery denies neighborhood limits request
By Guest Opinion,

Neighbors on Hayden’s Island Janzten Beach in Portland have complained that several lottery businesses equipped with video poker machines are combined in one small business area. Neighbors call it “Lottery Row”. Their complaint is that the pool of connected lottery stores attracts a large share of crime and alcohol related problems.

The Oregon State Lottery announced it will not limit the number of lottery-based businesses in the area because the current area is complying with existing laws and and are enforced by contracts.

The Albany Democrat Herald explains,

In November, Niswender limiting the number of machines in strip malls _ no more than half the establishments at such malls could host state video lottery terminals.

By June, the lottery commission had balked, saying the rule would stymie business and that the lottery can’t be held solely accountable for the problem.

Attorney Michael Mohr, whose firm represents several of the retailers, said the lottery would face “significant legal ramifications.”

“Who goes and who stays? Will it be based on seniority, most investment, highest income to lottery? Having once granted the right to a location, any `cut’ will certainly be subject to legal challenges,” he said.

Niswender said he will file a new proposal in August, but that means another round of public hearings for a solution that wouldn’t go into effect until 2015.

“I was blindsided,” said Ron Schmidt, chairman of the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network.

“We’ve got to have immediate relief,” he said. “We don’t want to see what happens to crime in the next three years. We want our neighborhood back today.”

Niswender said lottery row “just happened.”

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