Video gambling in Forest Park taverns will keep the town competitive and help all retail and commercial businesses, said a letter sent March 27 to Chamber of Commerce members from the tavern association calling itself Keep Forest Park Competitive.
Local tavern owners Marty and Lynn Sorice, who are acting as spokespeople for the organization, said video gambling is drawing business away from Madison Street to neighboring towns where video poker machines are legal.
“When the state passed video gaming, it has put us at a competitive disadvantage and a fight for survival,” the letter said. “Many of us will not be around in a couple of years if we fail.”
Sorice has said that at Fox Lake bars he owns, where video gambling is permitted, business “has spiked up quite handsomely.”
The letter offers “signs you can put in your windows” and advises business owners to urge their “employees and any local residents” to vote “no.”
The reason bar owners are asking for a “no” vote is because the referendum language is worded counter intuitively. A “no” vote on the ballot means support for video gambling.
The Sorices are former residents of Forest Park, but like many of the bar owners in town, reside elsewhere and cannot vote on the advisory referendum appearing on the April 9 ballot.