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Flower shop offers pink roses, pinot grigio — and poker

Customers Avenue Flower Shop can drink wine buy flowers play slots. | TinSfondeles~Sun-Times

Customers at Avenue Flower Shop can drink wine, buy flowers and play slots. | Tina Sfondeles~Sun-Times

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Need a dozen long-stemmed roses?

A colorful mix of carnations, purple asters and yellow daisy chrysanthemums?

A glass of pinot grigio?

A chance to win some cash while filling an inside straight?

The Avenue Flower Shop and Wine Bar in southwest suburban Oak Lawn is your place.

“Video Gaming and Video Poker Machines,” touts its website. “Now Available at The Flower Shop. The odds are in your favor. Come and WIN BIG!”

State law limits video gaming machines to places with liquor licenses, veterans or fraternal groups or large truck stops.

But that still allows video gambling to pop up in some unlikely places — such as the flower shop and wine bar on South Cicero Avenue.

“I got them to help the growth of the business,” owner Denise Roll said of the machines.

She said gaming has helped her survive.

“It’s so tough anyways for small businesses, People don’t really need to have wine,” Roll said. “You struggle. You do, because when the budget is tight, those are the first things they cut out.”

Roll had five video gaming machines installed Jan. 5, and by June her monthly share of the take was $11,900.

“I do have people right now who just come to play the machines,” she said. “But maybe one day they’ll need flowers.”

— Tina Sfondeles

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