Updated Aug. 7, 1 p.m. The video gaming license application submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board by Healy’s Westside – a tavern managed by Village Commissioner Mark Hosty – omits any mention of Hosty’s relationship to the bar, even though the application specifically asks for relationships to any public official.
In documents available on the board website, businesses requesting a video gambling license are required to list any public official linked to the establishment who “directly or indirectly, own any financial interest in, have any beneficial interest in, are the creditors of or hold any debt instrument issued by, or hold or have any interest in any contractual or service relationship with, an applicant or licensee.”
Toomore Ltd., the corporation listed as the official owner of Healy’s, answered “n/a” (not applicable) to this question, according to the Illinois Gaming Board website.
“I showed this to our legal department and they’re very interested,” said Gene O’Shea, press representative for the Illinois Gaming Board.
Video gambling is not allowed in Forest Park, by local ordinance. Nevertheless, several local taverns have filed license applications with the state, a process which involves filing fees, a criminal background check and fingerprinting. The establishments must also contract with a licensed video gaming company to provide the machines. Healy’s has contracted with Lattner Entertainment. Until recently Lattner Entertainment posted on their website a testimonial from Hosty, listing him as “owner” of Healy’s. That page has now been removed.
State supported video gambling will “go live” in late August or September, after being made legal by the state legislature in 2009.
But Mayor Anthony Calderone has said he will not be bringing the video gambling issue to the village council “any time soon.” Other local municipalities have recently overturned their previous anti-gambling ordinances to permit the new machines.
As the state has crept closer to allowing the gaming machines to be switched on, neighboring municipalities have passed ordinances overturning former bans on video gambling. North Riverside, Brookfield, Berwyn and Lyons all now permit video gambling. Oak Park, River Forest and Maywood do not.
Commissioner Chris Harris held a “Facebook Town Hall,” the evening of July 18, in which 30 participants discussed the pros and cons of video gaming for two hours. Included in the chat were representatives from Morris Gaming and several bar owners. The chat transcript can be read here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/322482554511803/
Commissioner Hosty lists himself as “owner” of Toomore Ltd. and Healy’s on his Linked In profile, but in response to an email from Forest Park Review he said he was not a shareholder in Toomore Ltd., was the “manager” of Healy’s and owned a half-share of the building at 7321 Madison Street.
When asked if he would recuse himself from voting if video gambling ever was brought to the village council, Hosty wrote: “I will continue to vote when and how my conscience dictates. I feel that I have never been compromised in the past and will continue to vote for what’s right for Forest Park.”
Eleven Forest Park establishments have requested gaming licenses from the state: Carole’s, Circle Bowl, Doc Ryan’s, Duffy’s Tavern, Healy’s Westside, Hideaway, Jim’s Pour Decision (formerly Zambonie’s), Kevil’s, Murphy’s Pub, the Pines and ‘R Place.
O’Shea said that until and if Forest Park officially permits video gaming, the gaming board would take no action on any of the 11 pending licenses for bars in the village.
“Right now [the license application] is just a piece of paper unless Forest Park changes their ordinance,” he said.