Success of video gaming convention creates new challenges

BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- For 13 years, a gaming event has matured and now finds itself at a crossroads. The Midwest Gaming Classic was the invention of a few friends and dozens of gaming enthusiasts that has grown into about 7,000 attendees and thousands of dollars in economic boost for Brookfield.

The event's home is at the Sheridan Hotel. But organizer Dan Loosen said, "We're busting out the walls again this year so, which is a great problem to have. I'm not complaining."

Loosen admits he is searching for a bigger venue that can accommodate the 300 games that are part of the expo.

For years Loosen could not take the event to Milwaukee because of a law that would mean paying $50.00 per coin-operated game. That would mean paying about $15,000 before the doors even opened. Loosen suspects the ordinance was instituted to prevent arcades from popping up in Milwaukee and with it spreading the gaming culture once deemed socially corrosive.

"I think we've gotten over the fact that it's going to destroy our youth if they play an arcade game or whatever," said Loosen.

But that law was wiped off the book back in 2011.

Now, Loosen is looking at venues in Milwaukee, while Brookfield tries to keep his business. Among the options being considered -- the construction of a new convention center.

The City of Brookfield estimates through hotels, dining and shopping the Midwest Gaming Classic helps to bring in more than $500,000 to the local economy.