Video gambling has now officially been outlawed in west suburban Forest Park after nearly 6,000 residents voted on the binding referendum in last weeks’ election.
The historic decision to prohibit gaming machines comes just two years after its approval.
It is believed to be the first time an Illinois community welcomed gambling and then said no to it.
Video gambling was legalized in 2016 and since then, 14 current establishments have gaming machines.
The owner of one of the local bars known as ‘R Place’—a family-owned business—says the ban is going to force him out of business, considering the money from video gaming brought in about $170,000 a year to village coffers.
“I think they made a mistake,” said owner Ronald Milchhoefer. “I think the people will ultimately suffer.”
Other residents say video gaming sends the wrong message about their community.
However, Milchhoefer like so many other residents in the area, insist that it also served as a distraction.
“It’s not going stop anyone from Forest Park from gambling...if that was motive,” he said.” They can go to Berwyn, North Riverside, Maywood…”
It is unclear when video gaming will officially cease toe exist in the area but Milchhoefer says his licenses are paid for until April 30.