Vote Yes to oppose video gambling

Opinion: Letters to the editor

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I oppose video gambling in Forest Park. I hope voters in the village will join me in voting Yes to the ballot resolution seeking to reinstate the decades-old ban, come November. 

My opposition to video gambling is borne of three main concerns: 

First and foremost, proceeds from video gambling are notoriously regressive. The typical video gambler is not a person of means, but a low-income retiree or young wage-earner hoping against hope to win big and change their lives. These neighbors of ours can little afford to lose the $1 million it takes for our village to net $50 thousand. 

Think about that: gamblers have to lose $1 million for the village to get $50 thousand. Holy cow! Putting that kind of meager revenue on the backs of such huge losses by people who can ill afford it is just wrong, in my view. There are better ways to raise revenue for the village. 

Second, Forest Park residents have twice already voiced our opposition to video gambling in the village. In the water bill survey several years back and in the nonbinding resolution we voted on, residents rejected video gambling 2:1. The fact that the mayor and commissioners chose to ignore those votes is a disgrace. 

Finally, the shameful way that bar owners seeking to shore up outdated failing businesses and the way our elected officials cravenly used the ballot referendum process to block a binding vote is scandalous. Many of us are outraged by the mayor and commissioners flouting the expressed will of residents by voting to allow gambling. Far worse are the machinations of the bar owners, the gambling lobby, and our elected officials to block the opportunity for residents to vote on a binding referendum. 

Thankfully, the state courts have made it abundantly clear that these attempts at voter suppression will not be tolerated. Forest Park is a vibrant, forward-looking community. Allowing video gambling to shore up failing businesses is not reflective of who we are. If bars cannot thrive based on their products and services, it is time for fresh business ventures to fill those spots. 

I say vote Yes to reinstate the ban.

Kate Nolan

Forest Park resident

Reader Comments

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JJ Harrington  

Posted: August 11th, 2018 3:00 PM

You are absolutley incorrect in you assesment. You are completely clueless about how gambling works. You absolutley have no idea who the people are that play these games or what thier personal life is about. Apologize to the good people in this village that entertain themselves playing the games, whom you wrongly charactorize as witless dupes of the powers to be. The results of the non-binding resolution you mentioned constituted less that 15% of total registred voters. Hardly a resounding result for banning. The village has received over $50K through July from the VGT's which is not regressive since all income groups participate voluntarily.Your comments about local business owners is also insulting since you are obviously have no knowledge of how the bar/resturaunt business works. Have your vote but in the meantime you can get off your condescending progressive high horse.

Kate Nolan  

Posted: August 10th, 2018 8:42 PM

Bill Dwyer, my numbers are correct. Village revenue is a tax on what people lose, not what they wager. Those losses constitute the revenue. Forest Park gets 5% of that revenue (what people lose in the machines). For the village to net $50k, gambers must LOSE $1 million.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: August 10th, 2018 9:14 AM

Understood, Geoff. My point is simply that people who want to take on unethical people who play fast and loose with facts, need to themselves be careful with the facts.

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: August 10th, 2018 7:52 AM

Bill, I reread your initial comment, and I think I see the disconnect. The village's portion is generated from the revenue from the machine which I believe is the money that stays in the machine (money the gambler lost) not the money put in the machine (money wagered.)

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: August 9th, 2018 11:51 PM

Bill, I fear we may just be misunderstanding each other somehow. Anyway, here's a link, showing the "money in vs payouts" for VG machines in Illinois. I make it to be around an 11% payout (not the 10% I said earlier, but it's close.) As I said, the games keep around 10%, and the players keep around 90% of whatever they put in, overall. It's still a steady loss. file:///C:/Users/gjbc257/Downloads/VGRevenueReport%20(2).pdf

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: August 9th, 2018 10:53 PM

But it doesn't clarify, Geoff. Sorry, but the vast majority of money dropped into a video gambling device is returned to the bettor. Do the research- something like 85 or 90-plus percent. You can't fight the blatant dishonesty and lack of ethics of your opponents in the FoPa bar business with erroneous statements or statistics.

Geoff Binns-Calvey  

Posted: August 9th, 2018 10:30 PM

Bill, the formula is pretty clear and inflexible. Gambling losses are set by law. The games keep ten percent of all the money that goes into them, overall. Of that ten cents on every dollar played, the Village keeps half a cent (5%). Presently, the Village makes a similar amount in fees and permits, but that could be challenged by the bar owners and downscaled, since we're not a Home Rule community. Regarding volume, people in our community lost about a million dollars last year into the terminals. Of course, some were ahead for a time, but the odds are always stacked in the house's favor. Hope that helps clarify.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: August 9th, 2018 9:29 PM

Always so interesting to observe the contours and flaws of discourse on the web. While it's a fact, not an opinion that 1.) voters in FoPa have voted against video gambling in an advisory manner, and somewhere between an observable fact and opinion that the village's bar owners have behaved in a "shameful" manner, I have to draw the line at Kate's contention that "gamblers have to lose $1 million for the village to get $50 thousand (in tax revenue)." I don't believe it''s the case that any revenue to the village is based on gambler's losses- But based on gambling volume. Perhaps the FPR can step in and clarify?

Pam Fontana  

Posted: August 9th, 2018 9:15 PM

"fresh business ventures to fill those spots."..........curious as you are so against the games being offered to adults (much like lottery games are available to adults and also legal), what fresh business ventures are going to fill those spots? So eager for existing businesses to close you must know something the rest of us do not. Do share. You must have been beside yourself when you lived in Nevada. All that regressive taxing.

Kathy Doss from Forest park   

Posted: August 9th, 2018 8:45 PM

Wow this village has survived many years without nasty negative comments like out with the old in with new !!! Hope you don't treat your parents that way Kate Nolan !!! The bars pay a lot of money to be on Madison street and a lot of taxes .. be careful what you wish for an empty madison Street won't be good for anybody in forest park !!!

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