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Finally, the shameful way that bar owners seeking to shore up outdated failing businesses and the way our elected officials cravenly used the ballot referendum process to block a binding vote is scandalous.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.
Forest Park resident