Video Poker Establishments in Question in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- There are at least 25 bars and restaurants in Rockford that have video gaming machines and that number continues to increase. However, some Rockford aldermen don't see that growth as a good thing.

The owner of Bet EZ Video Poker in Machesney Park, Cliff Sterling, recently applied for a license to open up a video gaming parlor in Rockford. It would be located in the strip next to the Wal-Mart on West Riverside. His request is in limbo since aldermen want to take another look at how the city grants liquor license, something the state requires in order to install video gaming. Aldermen are worried that too many gaming parlors run by the wrong people could negatively affect neighborhoods.

“Perhaps one alternative to addressing each individual request as it comes forth, maybe there needs to be some standards set up about what a building would look like, what are the minimum requirements for the public and the safety of the people who would come into it," says 10th Ward Alderman Frank Beach who suggested the council review liquor license policies.

“These people don't go to the bars,” Sterling says of the customers at Bet EZ Video Poker. “These are the people that prefer to stay away from bars for all the same reasons that people that misinterpret what a video parlor is think about a video parlor. They're thinking this is a bar, it’s not. It’s the farthest thing from it."

Sterling will appear before a committee in April for a ruling on his license. Meanwhile, discussions about video gaming parlors are on the agenda for this week's codes and regulations committee meeting.

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