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Moline considers changing video gaming rules

The mayor held a listening session with community members on Monday night. More than two dozen people came to voice their opinion on changing the rules.

MOLINE, Ill. — The City of Moline is considering changing its rules for video gaming in private businesses, like bars and restaurants.

Right now, the city has given 35 businesses licenses to allow gaming. That is above the 30 business cap on licenses, but includes the businesses "grandfathered in" before the latest rules were adopted, according to city leaders.

On Monday night, Nov. 29, city leaders, including Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati, held a conversation with community members to hear feedback about potential changes.

Ericka Catterton is one of about 30 people who attended to share their views on adopting new rules for video gaming within city limits.

Under Illinois law, the state allows licensed businesses to have six gaming stations. In Moline, however, gaming stations are limited to five.

"If the locations already have five, I don't see what the problem would be adding one more in that establishment," Catterton said.

But other Moline residents, like Seth Hart, think differently.

"I think the city has too many gaming establishments already," Hart said.

Hart said he thinks the number of gaming stations allowed in each business should decrease, too.

"We may be increasing tax revenue, but at what cost," Hart said.

For people like Catterton, the tax issue may be one reason she starts looking to move.

"I do love my home, but eventually it will come to a point of how much am I willing to pay in property taxes," Catterton said.

Catterton is also concerned what this could mean for the business scene in Moline.

"The City of Rock Island, for example, has that cap, and they're set at like 21 for the gaming," Catterton said. "How many restaurants and bars have remained open down there, and how many have looked to relocate to other cities?"

More than two dozen voices are making their case for the city's next move.

The City of Moline brings in about $385,000 each year in tax revenue from gaming machines, according to city leaders.

By comparison, Springfield and Decatur bring in more than $1.7 million each year in tax revenue, but those communities are larger than the Moline area, according to city leaders.

Mayor Rayapati will deliver a report to the city council on Tuesday night with what was discussed at Monday night's community forum.