Two forums will be held in the coming weeks to let residents weigh in on whether video gaming should be allowed in Forest Park.
The events, at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, will be in the lower level of Village Hall, 517 Des Plaines Ave.
Mayor Anthony Calderone called for the forums so residents can let him know "what's on your mind."
Follow Patch on Facebook for breaking news, friendly discussions and more. Click here to follow Forest Park Patch. Or, click here to follow Oak Park and River Forest Patch.
While Forest Park has a ban on gambling, Illinois has passed a law allowing communities the option of putting gaming machines in liquor establishments.
To do that, the village would need to "opt-in" with the state.
"It is important for me to hear what's on your mind," Mayor Anthony Calderone said in a statement issued about the forums.
What could be imparted by residents are questions about the impact this could have on Forest Park.
Should the village allow for video gaming, the state, the village of Forest Park and the businesses housing the machines could derive an undetermined amount of money.
According to the Forest Park Review, 70 percent of video terminal profits are split evenly between the venue—in this case a Forest Park bar, which can have up to five video terminals—and the gaming company. Twenty five percent would go to the state of Illinois and five percent to Forest Park.
For the village to earn $300,000—the amount floated by promoters—each of five terminals in each of 11 bars would have to generate $109,090 per year, composed of $2 bets. That means each of 55 terminals in town would be required to collect around 150 bets per day seven days a week, or 10 bets per hour, non-stop, reports said.
How that 5-percent would be used could be on residents' minds as well.
Other concerns could include the impact the presence of gaming could have on police activity.
Some businesses have expressed a desire for the village to opt-in. According to the Forest Park Review, 11 have applied for licenses to set up video gaming machines with the Illinois Gaming Board. The process involves filing fees, a criminal background check and fingerprinting. The establishments must also contract with a licensed video gaming company to provide the machines.
They include: Carole's, Circle Bowl, Doc Ryan's, Duffy's Tavern, Healy's Westside, Hideaway, Jim's Pour Decision (formerly Zambonie's), Kevil's, Murphy's Pub, the Pines and 'R Place.
Residents could also query Calderone on the donations that could have directly given to Calderone's election campaign. According to the Review, within the past two years, Kevil's Restaurant, 7228 Circle Ave., donated $689.06 in food to Calderone's 2011 campaign in November 2010 while Hideaway, 7301 Roosevelt Road, donated $500 in March 2011. Also in April, Oak Leaf Lounge, 7412 W. Harrison, donated $500. R Place, 1527 S. Harlem, donated $250 in November of 2010 and $1,500 in March of 2011.
Forest Park could join Berwyn and North Riverside as area communities that have opted in with the state. Maywood, River Forest and Oak Park have decided to continue the ban.
Final approval for "opting in" would rest with the Commissioners.
Tell us what you think about the prospect of Forest Park allowing video gaming in bars in comments below.