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By Sharon Daly


Spent a couple of hours in front of Ed's Way (may they prosper forever!) yesterday passing out reminders about the Video Gambling (VG) presentation tonight.* Folks are intrigued.

Only one couple was sure of their stance on the issue (pro) while the rest were in a thoughtful muddle. Here's how is went:

  • I'd like to support the bars/restaurants but…
  • If it brings $$ into the village then it's a good thing! But…
  • We've spent 15 years building Madison as a boutique/family friendly destination and not sure we should screw around with it…
  • The $$ is going to be spent somewhere, so it might as well be here. But…

I know the feeling. This VG thing is a step into the unknown, a shot in the dark – with projected upsides vs documented, but not perfectly aligned damages. Illinois only started this mid-October and so VG only has a couple of months of local anecdotes.

The Pro folks dismiss the possible damages as overwrought mommy-ism, but is there such a thing as gambling-lite? Is VG really just something to do while watching the football game? The math (potential profits) on all this is fuzzy because it's projected – what is a reasonable net for the village? What does the police department think about this possible venture?

Eh, I'm rambling. I believe the presentation tonight will answer the questions most of us share, offering three presenters and (I'm guessing) a rollicking Q&A period. Our electeds are very interested in your informed position on this issue.

* Again, the meeting tonight (Thursday) is an informational pros/cons on video gambling. 7pm at St. Peters (SE corner of Hannah and Adams) and sponsored by Citizens United in Forest Park (and I presently sit on the board.)


Last night was a great meeting: a substantive start to understanding all positions within a notable colleagial atmostphere. Yes, we can.

The presenters certainly did their jobs well. Tim Lattner stressed the strong state regulations around this budding industry, Kathy Gilroy had the data to support her position that VG does not serve the greater good, and Stan Zegel provided a sort of Renaissance Man balance and asked us all, "How does Forest Park want to think of itself? Does VG fit into the image we want to own and project to the rest of the world?" A solid hat tip to moderator Steve Bachman for setting a warm but professional tone and getting us out of there in just over two hours.

About 60-70 folks were in the audience, including a contingent of bar owners - all of whom handled themselves graciously. Well, yes, it took about an hour for all to realize no one was 'out to get' each other and then a palpable atmosphere of trust and generosity began to take hold. Well, there was that one angry bar guy but he was the outlier and folks mostly ignored him.

The presentation was extremely 'data rich' and that will take some time to put together. The Review audio taped the proceedings and CUinFP video recorded it. I have no time til tonight or tomorrow to do a full(?) review, so let's hear from any/all of you who were in attendance, including bar owners - you know who you are :)

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Reader Comments

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Martin M. Sorice from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 17th, 2013 12:51 PM

@Ms Daly, Thank you for your compliment. In another lifetime I did econometric research funded by the National Science Foundation at the U of I. In a lifetime after that I did quite a lot of wagering (of all kinds). I retired wagering15 years ago.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 6:17 PM

Here is the link to Marty Sorice's post/letter: I've got to ask, Marty, how did you become so conversant and informed on this issue? You've put a lot of effort and good thinking into this issue.

Martin M. Sorice from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 16th, 2013 1:06 PM

@Ms Daly. First, you have the correct article. Second, we will prepare numbers. Obviously there are some confidentiality issues in any numbers that would single out individual bars. In doing so it will be hard to get numbers that would lead themselves to a fair analysis at least methodologically speaking. Valid totals really are year over year. We have only 2 or 3 months. Your last point is that you have never heard someone speak ill of the bars, well maybe you have. Rationally, and yes emotionally about half the bar owners fear they will go out of business if we don't get the machines. An individual stood up a the C.U.F.P. meeting and while he said many things, one was that we shouldn't get the machines because of Hosty. I actually replied something to the effect of "Please don't hold all of us responsible." However this person, I think, also referred to Calderone as Napoleon. The problem I perceive is that we are collateral damage in a war we are really not involved in and I desperately WANT OUT. Please help me!

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 9:10 PM

And let me add, I have not run into one person who is antagonistic to our bars/bar owners. I'm not a bar patron, but my dad was (tavern not saloon :) Where are you guys hearing such animosity?

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 9:04 PM

@Martin M. Sorice You are generous and darling - as were many of your fellow bar owners. I did google - are you referring to your Letter to the Editor (November-ish/lotsofcrazyideas), or perhaps something else? Why don't you post the link and we can all kick it around. Wonder if you have anything like 'hard' numbers on the migration of business to Berwyn/other opt-ins? And we'll have to deal w/correlation v causation.

Martin M. Sorice from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 7:59 PM

Ms. Daly, My own personal view is that sober people are really useful in a tavern setting. At times they have been helpful beyond belief. Much of the conversation has centered around the 1% who may have gambling problems. Of the other 99% many will be seniors who are going to play for a dime or 25 cents at a time. How would you dare tell them that they have to buy a drink? Also since alcoholism is a disability/disease, it would certainly be immoral and illegal to force alcohol on those for which it is poison! A few months ago I wrote a paper that discussed my view on how video gaming will proceed. If you Google my name it's on about the 6th screen. I also rudely forgot to thank you and the rest of the board at CUFP. I certainly don't agree with everything you write but I find your writings to be fair and open minded. I would like to publicly thank you for the forum you have provided for my ramblings!

Matt on Madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 3:36 PM

No its poor people not black people and they have the same rights as anyone else but and again a fact they require more police work once again economic area and not race. Get Rational you are a bitter man, start looking at facts and not race it makes for a nicer world

Get Rational from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 3:30 PM

"It will draw people in that could require more police work." Instead say "poor black people drive in" or "poor black people require more police work. By the way answer this one question. What rights and privileges do poor black people have in Matt's Forest Park? I have given you enough of my valuable time. You either get it or we disagree.

Get Rational from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 3:27 PM

Matt on Madison, the hole gets deeper! I missed the economic and demographic publication on the customer base at Harlem and Madison. Matt, the fact is that black people as a group tend to be poorer than white people in a large part because of racism! However, even though they are poor in part due to racism, you don't want them in "Matt's Forest Park". If you wanted to help yourself become more sensitive quit saying things like "When they drive in" or

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 3:06 PM

Thanks for weighing in, Marty. Re: do folks have to buy a drink in order to use the VG machines? Tim Lattner (CUinFP presenter) said state law does not require this, but he thought individual owners of gambling establishments could decide their own policy. Is that how you all understood it, too?

Matt on Madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:59 PM

Get Real, thanks, i'm glad someone understands me ;-).

matt on madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:55 PM

I don't think you have to drink at a bar to gamble??? maybe you do and then your right. I just think the closer it is the more problems there could be. They say the lottery is a tax on the poor and I think this will be the same. the payouts are awful and i believe it will benefit noone in the longrun.

Get Real from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:55 PM

@Get Rational. Get real. Matt was simply stating a fact. I suggest you hang outside the liquor stores in FP, USA Liquors for example. Then report back on how many cars you see bearing Chicago vehicle stickers. There is nothing racist about it. A fact is simply a fact, until someone, like you, twists into something it isn't.

forest parker  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:53 PM

@Matt on Madison; if the folks from the west side of Chicago come to FP to buy liquor because it's cheaper, what makes you think they are going to pay FP bar liquor prices just so they can gamble? That would defeat their whole purpose of obtaining lesser priced alcohol.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:47 PM

No they drive from the west side of Chicago to purchase in Forest Park to avoid the city liquor tax. Its the principal on why the store at Harlem and Madison exist and flourish. Not my opinion its a fact. my point is that if gambling is offered and easily accessible it will draw people in that could require more police work. Once again not racial just fact as to the geography of Forest Park. Please don't assume i'm saying something im not.

Get Rational from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:36 PM

So what you are saying is that these POOR BLACK people are going to take a $3 El ride to Forest Park to save the 1% on liquor tax. So it would seem that buying $300 worth of liquor they would break even! Matt, come clean, your statement is demographically and racially insensitive. Do you really believe people would make this trek or are you in bad need of some sensitivity training? Why don't you quit? The hole is getting deeper every time you write.

Geo Brazen  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:29 PM

I too read the white paper (I recommend lots of coffee). I was kind of immune to all the arguments, for or against but was really taken back by all BS the state did to get it passed. It is a disgusting example of how the peepee heads in Springfield behave. No wonder Illinois is in the sorry-assed state it's in. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking how well Emanuel "Chris" Welch is gonna fit right in, though he will have a lot of catching up to do to run with the pros down there.

Matt on Madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:17 PM

Yes I did mean black people because that is who lives on the west side of Chicago. but its not a racist statement. It doesn't matter what color there skin is black/white/yellow. the point was not about there color more of there lower economic status which tends to cause more problems for the village and the cops. Same would be said if we were next to a lower economic white area. Its not about race its about keeping the area safe.

Get Rational from Forest Park  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 2:08 PM

Gee Matt, these people from the west side of Chicago, do you mean black people? If you do, that is quite a racist statement. If you don't then who do you speak of?

matt on madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 1:24 PM

has anyone thought about all the people from the west side of Chicago that currently come to F.P. to buy liquor that is cheaper then Chicago and if they will start coming to the bars to gamble. It will be increased business but could lead to increased problems too

Matt on Madison  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 1:22 PM

Martin, i'm new to the discussion but as a frequent Forest Park bar visitor and a compulsive gambler I can tell you that i would not cross the street (Berwyn) to gamble and haven't yet and are hoping they do not come to Forest Park. I'm not sure which way the village will go but I hoping they do not put them in. And Martin your arguement that we should have them because everyone else does and no bad will come of it is wrong.

Martin M. Sorice from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 1:08 PM

(part 2) For example, does anyone really believe that someone who would be addicted enough to embezzle money from their company would not cross the street to gamble? What do we really accomplish? The "neutral" panelist from Winfield said more than once that the issue of video gambling "is not about money." But certainly the reason this bill was passed was all about money! Unfortunately on a local level mush the same is true. The impact on local businesses not having video poker while it's available across the street has been disastrous. Forest Park is losing business to surrounding communities. We already have data (from the beer companies) indicating that the businesses with machines have experienced explosive growth while most Forest Park businesses are declining and desperate. It is only going to be worse when more opt in businesses are installed. Local taverns are in a great period of transition. The money from these machines would help most of us to evolve & survive. I know that some readers will delight in our current plight. I honestly believe that the traditional bar scene in our town has made us a destination point. Being so historically, we have had a symbiotic relationship with the other businesses in town. I really wish that Build Illinois never became law. It is a cruel form of monetary redistribution. But it did become a law, it's here, it's real and we really need some help to continue breathing.

Martin M. Sorice from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: January 15th, 2013 12:56 PM

(Part 1) I would like to add the opinion of an old saloon keeper to your debate. First, I have read the aforementioned law review article. While being well written it is certainly only one of many opinion papers on the subject. I would point out first there are scores of opposing position papers, he cites many. Second, keep in mind econometric psychometric data can give different results depending on its methodological underpinnings. This articles main theme seems to be that the Build Illinois Act was a poorly conceived act passed by a cash strapped, greedy, moral-less State. I personally believe that in many respects the gentleman probably is right and also that it really doesn't have much relevance to a yes or no vote in Forest Park. As I understand the Build Illinois Act, the state greatly raised it's taxes on alcohol and then threw the liquor license holders a bone by giving us the potential to make back our money with poker machines. Of course the state would take a healthy cut. The author concludes that on moral and economic grounds the video poker part of the bill should have never been passed and should now be re-examined. There are 2 problems with this article as it relates to Forest Park gambling. One, the law has already passed, is being implemented and it has a snowballs chance in hell of being repealed. Two, the econometric and ethical arguments the author makes have tenuous validity as a macro or statewide model but they certainly have less validity on a macro or village level. For instance the author identifies a study that says approximately 1% of gamblers are problem gamblers. Certainly if these people can cross a street to gamble, we accomplish really nothing to protect them, or us from them by not allowing gambling in our village. This makes a much sense as denying the Forest Park McDonald's a food license because they cause childhood obesity. The same is true with many other ethical objections the author & other people are citing in this debate.

Edward P. from Forest Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 9:33 PM

@ Forest Parker, oh forest parker, if I didn't think clearly about what you write I would say you're being silly you rascal you. Unless you realize the comedy in Ms Daly and her cohorts you won't get it, glad it doesn't make any sense to you. It does to me and my friends. Well time for popcorn and more laughter brought to us from the FPReview who!

Citizens United in Forest Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 4:43 PM

We have just posted the January 10 Video Gambling presentation on YouTube, it is in two parts. Part 1 is a presentation by each panelist: Part 2 is Q & A between the panelists and the audience.

Forest Parker from Forest park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 4:09 PM

@edward p, what the heck are you even talking about? You make no sense whatsoever, but do carry on.

Watching the dialogue  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 1:55 PM

Let me refine my statement. ....why create "another" system where.....

Edward P. from Forest park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 1:53 PM

I seem to remember reading about Ms. Daly not getting something she wanted, I think it was zoning related. This has now become a seek and destroy mission on the part of Ms. Daly and her cohorts at the Forest park Review. With the ample amount of "ink" and control of the digital copy they have control over peoples opinion- right or wrong. The have the power and the power to sway your thoughts. Make no mistake this is a concerted effort on the part of Daly and Haley. Sad, yes but true.

Forest Parker from Forest park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 1:35 PM

@watching, should we therefore close the bars then as well? We certainly don't have to drink alcohol to live either! Your suggestion does not hold water.

Watching the dialogue  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 11:10 AM

I am not ready to make a personal decision yet but 2 things come to mind. 1st, the right to be free. we all have teh right to be free until it infringes on the rights of others (basic philosophy 101) which leads to number 2. As a society, we are always worried about people "falling through the cracks" so why create a system where that is exactly what is going happen. Unlike food or water or air, we do not need gambling in any form to live. Food for thought/discussion.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 11:05 AM

@ read-the-article. "...won't you please organize the anti-VG-save-our-bars weekly pub crawl?" Thanks for the morning tea spit-take on my ipad :) Actually, I had similar thoughts in the past few days. IF we don't want VG in Forest Park, AND we want our small businesses (in this case our bars) to succeed, is there another way to support them? I see two problems: 1) our other small businesses may also want our targeted support and 2) a weekly(!?!) pub crawl? I feel confident stating I must be older than you. Also, I'm strictly a wino, a topic which has previously set our internets on fire. But i was recently introduced to mojitos (easy sugar), so that's a start.

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 10:53 AM

@ Forest Parker I hear you, really I do, and certainly believe your description of VG is often the case. But that scenario is anecdotal and does not jive w/empirical evidence of adverse side-effects - like the white paper 'read-the-article' is referring us to. That's a dilemma.

Forest Parker from Forest park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 10:45 AM

@sharon and the other anti-VGers. Have you visited any of the bars w/VG available to actually see it in action? You should. Check out, for instance, Cordial Inn in Brrokfield. Was there yesterday. 5 machines, no waiting. A couple people putting a couple bucks in (including myself) and playing for a bit. Then cashing out (I broke even) and returning to the bar. Maybe you should actually see them and then make a decision. They are not the end of the world or evil.

Derek St. Holmes from Forest Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 10:29 AM

"We've spent 15 years..." Well, I guess that's about as close as you'll get to admitting Mayor Calderone has done well for Forest Park. My question is you say "WE". What exactly have you done to help? Just so we're clear, standing on the sidelines and doing nothing but complaining and telling everyone with 20/20 hindsight how you would've done things doesn't count.

Derek St. Holmes from Forest Park  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 10:23 AM

Sharon, Sharon, Sharon. No evidence has been offered to refute? Number one, for someone that fancies themselves as a writer? FAIL. Nothing has "been offered". That indicates that you (as usual) are going by what you "hear" from whatever source rather than seeking and finding. Not that anyone is surprised.


Posted: January 12th, 2013 11:16 PM

part 5. -- Must we choose between helping the bar owners and protecting some number of neighbors who will by the laws of statistics get sucked into video gambling? Why can't we do both? Specifically what can people who come out against VG do to help the neighborhood bars? It's obvious. Go and have a beer at a local bar, and tell them you oppose VG but you are coming out to support them. Ms. Daly, you have the soap-box -- won't you please organize the anti-VG-save-our-bars weekly pub crawl?


Posted: January 12th, 2013 11:09 PM

part 4. -- The article suggests serious social costs associated with introducing VG. Also at the meeting, one speaker stressed that it's up to us to decide what we want for our village and its image. I also heard at the meeting that our neighborhood bars are having a horrible time in this economy. These bars are a huge part of the FP's image and history. If the bars can't survive without VG, then opponents of VG are saying some of those bars must shut down. Is there a way out?

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 11:07 PM

There's a lot of evidence that 'convenience gambling' has serious problems attached to it, and I've not been offered any evidence that refute. The two notions that resonated w/me was 1) who are we as a community? How do we want to be known and why would people move here/invest here? Should we be spending mucho $$ dollars on improvements/PR that conflict w/our actual practices? Gambling is sexy but it's definitely something folks are willing to travel for. NIMBY might be the appropriate response. And 2) FP gambling options are necessarily and particularly focused - we are not a 5 mile wide burb w/a commercial strip decently isolated from our residences. Madison, Roosevelt and Des Plaines liquor purveyors are snug as a bug in a rug w/family homes. It's a unique and incompatible situation. Eh?


Posted: January 12th, 2013 10:27 PM

part 3. -- Here is the relevant quote from the article: "One study, for example, found that 48.2% of machine gambling revenues derive from problem and pathological gamblers." See the article for the citation. How would you feel about the state allowing selling cocaine? After all it already allows sales of alcohol and tobacco. If it can balance the budget by taxing cocaine sales, can't we trust adults to know when to stop themselves and control their recreational use?


Posted: January 12th, 2013 10:23 PM

part 2. -- Also, the article shows that unlike other "neighborhood" sin taxes for cigarettes and alcohol, the state is expecting to get significant revenue from video gambling. The article points out that our legislators were either willfully ignorant or didn't care about the extreme effectiveness of video gambling in turning people into problem gamblers, when they deciding to try to balance the State budget on the backs of addiction-prone problem gamblers.


Posted: January 12th, 2013 10:20 PM

@fp from fp -- "What about lottery games available at outlets everywhere; should those be banned because we can't trust adults to know when to stop themselves? How far do you want to go on controlling adult behavior?" Before reading the Law Review article your argument would have made sense to me. However, the data show that video gambling is extremely effective at turning people into habitual problem gamblers. So it's apples and oranges.

Forest Parker from Forest park  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 10:44 AM

So all those that don't want vg want the government to nanny state us even more? What about lottery games available at outlets everywhere; should those be banned because we can't trust adults to know when to stop themselves? How far do you want to go on controlling adult behavior?


Posted: January 11th, 2013 6:44 PM

Illinois residents were allowed to gamble legally many years ago. There is nobody deciding whether someone (of age) can gamble or not (except a family member). The issue now is WHERE gambling is allowed. EVERYone thinks that they have self-control. Addictions don't care what someone thinks. They happen. There is no test developed yet to determine who will develop a problem with gambling and who won't. The link shows what happened to someone who HAD self-control in his life.

one person  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 4:36 PM

@fp res from fp -- I am also not crazy about citing single stories. But the article antigambler quoted puts a human face on the statistics in the paper at the UofI Law Review. Suppose it is likely that a handful of our FP neighbors become addicted thanks to the ready availability of video gaming machines, as suggested by the data. Isn't it a fair question to ask whether the small increased convenience for you is worth the catastrophically high cost to them.

forest park resident from forest park  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 2:49 PM

good link for what? one person's experience w/gambling? how about the rest of us with some self control? shouldn't we be able to decide for ourselves?


Posted: January 11th, 2013 2:09 PM

Good link:

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 11th, 2013 10:07 AM

I've added a few thoughts/notes from last night's meeting (at the end of original post,) so let's continue the VG discussion on this same thread. Jump in any all - plenty of folks want to hear your thoughts.

Michael from Forest Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 2:38 PM

influence more desirable patrons to seek refreshment elsewhere) who may have no other means to get to other towns with VG. Add our high bar concentration, & FP also becomes a more lucrative target for those who would separate winners from their gambling proceeds. It is not unreasonable to think that those loitering around CVS & the green line terminal may start migrating onto Madison St. to gamble money they may have panhandled &/or "request" some of the earnings a gambler may have just won.

Michael from Forest Park  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 2:38 PM

I frequent bars in several neighboring towns that have VG - the machines are not as busy as expected. Many stand idle for long periods, even when the bar is crowded. Some theories I have heard: there are already too many VG machines in the area (the market is flooded), & more serious gamblers prefer the "professional" casinos. While I am neutral on VG, FP has a different situation. Our 2 el terminals make FP more accessible to less "desirable" gamblers (& less desirable bar customers, who may

Sharon Daly from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 1:38 PM

No, I haven't heard/read much on police perspective. Kathy Gilroy (speaker) will definitely have stats on this, but we'll have to see how well we think they mesh w/our situation. Also, Stan Zegel from Winfield (speaker) is pretty well versed on most aspects and local effects. hope to meet you tonight. be there or be square :)

Daniel Jones from Forest Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 10th, 2013 1:09 PM

Hi Sharon,thanks for answering my question on the featured article which by the way prompted me to do a little surfing. You now mention the police angle and coincidently that is where I started to focus. After 15 years living here I know our police spend a whole lot of time patrolling the bars at night so I searched for policing issues. I only found one town in Illinois that had any info and that was Bloomingdale. Their Chief of Police did not expect to see a huge increase in crime and was not to worried. I haven't been to Bloomingdale in 8 or 10 years but I don't recall them having a huge concentration of bars on a single street like FP. To your knowledge, have our police weighed in on their role yet?

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