We are coming right up on two public forums planned by the village to hear from the public on the subject of video gambling being allowed in local bars and restaurants. Right now, under a local ordinance, such gaming is not allowed even though it became legal in the state just recently.
Regular readers will know that we are opposed to state and village-sanctioned gaming on multiple grounds. We won’t restate those objections directly here.
Instead we need to acknowledge a factual error — a mathematical error, actually — in our reporting on this subject. In calculating the possible village take on legalized video gaming we used gross receipts instead of net receipts. That makes a considerable difference as state law mandates that 80 percent of the cash that customers put in the machines must be paid back as winnings. Perhaps that will make them feel less like saps, but we all know gamblers never actually “win.” Out of the remaining 20 percent of the gross there is a split between the bar owner, the game operator, the state and the village. The village will take 5 percent with the state “earning” 25 percent of the net.
These errors were pointed out to us by the owner of three local bars who stands ready to apply for a state license if the village council ultimately agrees to allow such gaming in town. He also concludes that nearly 30 local establishments will apply if the village smiles on this scam. And, if this fellow is correct, that would prove our point. Put video gambling machines in 30 bars and restaurants along Madison Street and Roosevelt Road, and you have changed the culture of the village as a destination for dining and entertainment. And not in a good way.
We’re sure bar owners and gaming lobbyists will turn out in force when the village convenes its public forums. We hope ordinary Forest Parkers who take pride in what this town has built over 15 years will also turn out in opposition.