Adult video gaming arcade earns license amid debate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 30, 2001

Staff Writer

The opening of an adult video arcade on North Three Notch Street has met with some opposition, but city officials say they licensed the business in compliance with current state law.

When applying for a business license for Wild Bill’s Pot of Gold II, Brian Bush indicated the electronic video games are for adults only, which set off alarms of concern for city officials.

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"I was very concerned about it," Troy City Council President John Witherington said.

"I still am."

Witherington said the establishment is "nothing more than a gambling arcade that robs people of their money with no chance of return."

The video games pay out winnings in coupons of $5 increments. Only those age 19 and older are permitted in the establishment, which opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

It will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

"From a statewide standpoint, they’re still determining the legality [of such businesses]," said Troy City Clerk Alton Starling.

A Jefferson County Circuit Judge rules such video gaming machines were illegal, but the case was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, which has not handed down a ruling.

The owner of the Troy establishment has a similar one in Grady with 20 electronic video games. No alcohol is allowed and there will be no pool tables on the premises.

Despite his moral objections, Witherington said there was no "legal justification" to deny the business license.

"The city has to license that business," Starling said. "That’s all we can do."

The owner of

will pay $50 plus $2 per game over the 10-machine limit per year to maintain his business license.

Attorneys with the city and the Alabama League of Municipalities advised the city to issue the license.

Bush could not be reached for comment.