As the issue of video gambling at Forest Park bars gained traction in 2013, bar owners started whining about having a “level playing field” to compete with our neighbors in Berwyn and North Riverside. Neighbors? Huh. This got me thinking who are the “actual” neighbors of these gambling bar/parlors?

Lets look at Madison St., there is a hardware store, clothing stores, hair salons, an ice cream parlor, antique stores and other great businesses. Don’t these neighbors deserve a “level playing field” too? During 2017, O’Sullivan’s took in about $64,000 just for having gambling. Duffy’s got $60,000 during the same period. If I were the owner of a salon or ice cream parlor, I’d be thinking, ‘Damn! That’s a huge chunk of my payroll, why do the bars benefit from this government handout and not me!’ No, the playing field isn’t level for them at all.

Human nature being what it is, it will get worse. When the video gambling lights and signs and banners start to appear, the tidy storefronts like the hardware store and the paint store will be cloaked with the seedy bombast of their neighbors neon glare. This is classic real estate regression.

As you enter the voting booth, think about ALL of our Madison St. neighbors. Vote Yes to prohibit video gambling.

Steven Backman

Forest Park resident

3 replies on “Just how level is this playing field?”