Possible Overhaul for Liquor Permits in Rockford

By: Jessica Geraci Email
By: Jessica Geraci Email

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Many of us are used to seeing the bright neon of video gaming machines at local bars and restaurants, a sight that's prompted Rockford aldermen to take another look at how to regulate that growing industry.

Some on the council want to overhaul the way Rockford hands out liquor licenses. State law says you need to have one to install gaming machines. Over the last year certain applications for a city liquor permit have been denied while others have been approved. A few aldermen say there needs to be clearer rules about why some businesses get a permit and others do not.

“I’m in the position that that free market should set itself but we do need criteria to be able to grant these licenses. Is it fair to all people? If a denial is going to be voted on, what is the criteria and why are we denying this liquor license compared to another property," says 14th Ward Alderman Joe Chiarelli.

The city of Rockford issues at least a dozen different types of liquor permits for bars, restaurants and special events.

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