It must be the loyal customers, said Oz McNamara, manager of Duffy’s Tavern. That’s the only reason he can think of for why Duffy’s has bested all the bars in Forest Park, earning $54,224 since video gaming came to the village, the most out of area establishments.

“I know we haven’t had any problems in here because of it,” McNamara said. “It’s helped us, so I’m all for it. I’ve never played a game myself, and I don’t plan on it, but people like them.” 

In the little more than a year since video gaming was legalized in Forest Park, area establishments have raked in more than $357,000 in combined revenue, according to data obtained Jan. 11 from the Illinois Gaming Board. These bars and restaurants have returned $149,152 in taxes, plus licensing and machine fees from video gaming to the village since January 2017. Sixteen bars in Forest Park offer electronic gambling, and have established 69 total video gaming consoles. These local machines have paid out more than $11 million; players have put in $12.1 million. 

O’Sullivan’s Public House ranks a close second in electronic gambling revenue, pulling in $54,092 in video gaming funds since January 2017. 

James Watts, owner of O’Sullivan’s, has hired an attorney to dispute the validity of the petitions submitted by Let Forest Park Vote on Video Gaming, a political action committee that seeks to get local voters to weigh in on the practice via a binding referendum in the March primary election. A spokesman for the Cook County Clerk said their office hopes to have a signature review of Let Forest Park Vote’s petitions scheduled by Jan. 21. 

If the group’s petitions prove valid, lawyers from pro- and anti-gaming forces will debate whether there’s room on the March ballot for the Let Forest Park Vote’s questions. Only three questions are allowed on any ballot, and Mark Hosty already submitted three questions to be debated. Let Forest Park Vote questions the timeliness of the questions submitted by Hosty, a River Forest resident, former commissioner and general manager of Healy’s Westside. Hosty submitted in November 2016 for the 2018 ballot. If Let Forest Park Vote is successful in getting their question on the March ballot, and residents vote against the practice, electronic gambling will be outlawed in the village.

Right now, the state limits the number of video gaming machines per bar to five, which is how many the majority of Forest Park bars offer. But more consoles does not necessarily mean more revenue. 

Oak Leaf Lounge offers three video gaming machines and has earned $1,070 in revenue, the least of all the bars in the village. Meanwhile, Amy’s Wine House offers two electronic gambling machines and has earned $1,157; the Golden Steer Steakhouse also offers two video gambling machines and has earned $7,894 since January 2017.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com

This story has been updated to reflect that the state limits the number of video gaming machines to five at any establishment and to correct the address of Scratch Deli & Cafe in the sidebar.

Video gaming by the numbers

Here's a list of how much local bars and restaurants have earned from video gaming since the practice was legalized in Forest Park in January 2017, according to data obtained Jan. 11 from the Illinois Gaming Board. All business names are obtained from the Illinois Secretary of State. These bars and restaurants have returned $149,152 in video gaming tax, plus machine and licensing fees to the village. 

  1. Duffy's Tavern, which shares the same address as 7513 Madison St. Inc., has earned $54,224 from video gaming since January 2017
  2. O'Sullivan's Public House, 7244 Madison St., $54,092.05 
  3. The Hardwood Bar, 7414 Madison St., $38,441.21 
  4. Ginance Inc., a business which the Secretary of State lists as Blueberry Hill at 427 Desplaines Ave. and Angelo O'Leary's at 7522 Madison St., $36,555 
  5. Mugsy's, 7640 Madison St., $36,067.07 
  6. R'Place, 1527 Harlem Ave., $31,978.84 
  7. The Beacon Pub, 101 Circle Ave., $28,612.42
  8. Healy's Westside, 7321 Madison St., $17,010.07 
  9. Slainte Irish Pub, 7505 Madison St., $14,638.75 
  10. Doc Ryan's Bar and Grill, 7432 Madison St., $13,000.18
  11. Goldyburgers, which has the same listed address as 7316 Circle Corporation, $10,981.31 
  12. Fatduck Tavern and Grill, 7218 Madison St., $10,708.30 
  13. The Golden Steer Steakhouse, 7635 W. Roosevelt Rd., $7,894.09 
  14. Scratch Kitchen and Lounge, 7444 Madison St., $1,194.64 
  15. Amy's Wine House, 7235 W. Roosevelt Rd., $1,157.44 
  16. Oak Leaf Lounge, which has the same listed address as AKA Heating & Cooling Inc. at 7412 Harrison St., $1,070.59

 Nona Tepper

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