BLOOMINGTON — Will Bloomington end their moratorium on video gaming licenses?
That was the big item on the agenda at city council Monday night. The short answer: yes and no.
Council members discussed the ban on issuing new video gaming licenses, and alternatives, for over an hour, but didn’t come to any conclusions.
The current ban, instituted in March of last year, is temporary, set to expire in September.
But the new state law expanding gambling in Illinois means city leaders need a solution.
Monday’s meeting brought lots of ideas, from lifting the moratorium, to setting a yearly limit of new licenses, to making the ban permanent.
“While I think there wasn’t a ton of clarity walking away tonight, I do feel like we’re coming to a consensus and what our philosophy will be moving forward,” shared Ward 6 Alderman Jenn Carrillo.
Right now 52 businesses, from gas stations to the VFW, have a total of 243 gaming terminals in Bloomington. Local business owner Rick Mccormick says the ban is hurting his business.
Parkview Inn used to have five video game machines until it burned down nearly 3 years ago. The new space is now restored and up to code. But, Mccormick says he can’t put the games back because he cant get a license.
“It gives people something to do. If you want to gamble then do it. If you don’t want to gamble then don’t,” he explains.
Mccormick explained the issue to City Council tonight, and members tossed around several options, including a special allowance, or making an exception to the rule.
As for the moratorium, council members have created a working group to come up with some options. But it doesn’t appear they’ll vote on any official solution until August.