New Aldermen Provide Fresh Take on Video Gaming Rules

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The newly sworn in aldermen on the Rockford city council got down to business on Monday, bringing new perspectives to the debate over video gaming in the Forest City.

Some of the new aldermen to the council see these parlors as a way to bring more money into city coffers, and think the parlors could help revive certain shopping centers. There are some applicants who want to open a video gaming parlor have been waiting for over three months to see council take action on their liquor license applications, a must have for any place with the gaming machines.

Tyler Voorhees, owner of Rockford Billiard Cafe on North Main St., wants to open a new video gaming parlor at the North Towne Mall. He plans to name it Lucky Lee’s. Voorhees made his case before aldermen on Monday, reminding them that Rockford Billiard Cafe was one of the first places to have video gaming in Rockford, and it has a clean track record with little crime or problems. Voorhees adds, he’s just trying to promote business in his neighborhood.

“I'm unlikely to try and do anything in Rockford because if I'm getting this type of reception, why bother to invest here,” says Voorhees. “I was honestly trying to invest in Rockford, in the west side because I have a house in the 9th ward, I have a business in the third ward and I was trying to support that."

City council has rewritten liquor license rules for gaming parlors, meaning Voorhees will likely get his answer next week. The new requirements call for a $12,000 fee and the business must be in compliance with city codes.

According to the state gaming board, the city of Rockford received more than $40,000 in April from the one hundred plus gaming machines around town.


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