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March 24, 2017Newsletters

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its March monthly meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Chicago.

Below is a summary of the Riverboat Meeting and the Video Gaming Meeting. Both of these meetings seemed to go fairly quickly, with limited comments from the Chairman, Board Members and the Administrator. Member Dunn participated via phone due to a medical issue and Member Dolins was absent.

Riverboat

The Chairman opened the meeting briefly reminding attendees that next month’s meeting will be held in Springfield on April 21, 2017. The other Board Members and Mr. Ostrowski declined to make additional comments.

The Board heard public commentary by Ms. Kathy Gilroy regarding the self-exclusion list. Ms. Gilroy stated that March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and, as such, she wanted to voice her concerns regarding self-exclusion as it applies to both riverboat gambling and video gaming. Ms. Gilroy applauded recent efforts made by MGM for implementing thorough self-exclusion procedures at all of its locations. She also applauded the Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association for its contributions to the Illinois problem gambling helpline. In Ms. Gilroy’s opinion, however, these efforts are not enough. She believes the Board and industry should use current technology available to deter and prevent self-excluded individuals accessing gaming venues. Ms. Gilroy’s examples included using biometric facial recognition (technology already employed by casinos) to identify individuals on the self-exclusion list, as well as license plate scanners to identify self-excluded persons’ vehicles before they enter a facility.

After she concluded her comments, Chairman Tracy posed two questions to Ms. Gilroy. The first was whether she believed that the “lifetime ban” associated with self-exclusion list registration has a “chilling effect” on potential enrollees, and the second was if she believed that more individuals would enroll in the program if Illinois changed its parameters to parallel states like Missouri whose inclusion lasts approximately 5-10 years. Ms. Gilroy said that while a change may help to increase enrollees, it would do little to assist the current 12,000 enrollees and their families.

The meeting continued with the Board granting Southern Illinois Riverboat Casino Cruises, Inc. d/b/a Harrah’s Metropolis Casino owner’s license renewal, the Level 1 occupational license of Rebecca Mumma, CFO, of Casino Queen, Inc., and the request of Southern Illinois Riverboat Casino Cruises, Inc. d/b/a Harrah’s Metropolis Casino to change the entity from a corporation to a limited liability company as part of the reorganization of Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

The Board also granted 34 Level 2 and 83 Level 3 occupational licenses, and issued disciplinary complaints revoking the Level 2 occupational licenses of: 1) Jeffrey Davenport for his alleged felony conviction; 2) Christine Smith for her alleged theft at Hollywood Casino Aurora and failure to disclose her arrest; and 3) Zarkeysha Williams for her alleged wrongful conduct at Hollywood Casino Aurora for which she was terminated.

The Board also issued disciplinary complaints against HC Joliet LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Joliet and HC Aurora LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Aurora fining the companies each $250,000 for allegedly violating the internal controls of craps fire betting. The matter was voted on 3-1, with Member Dunn voting “No.” The Chairman commented that the fines are significant because the Board believes these “violations of internal controls impacted gaming integrity.” Further, the Chairman noted that Member Dunn may have voted “No” because he feels that the fines are too high.

The Board also issued a disciplinary complaint fining Penn National Gaming as a Key Person for HC Joliet Hollywood and HC Aurora Hollywood, $150,000 for allegedly mailing marketing materials to individuals on the self-exclusion list. The Chairman noted that, fortunately, the individuals did not take advantage of the promotion. If they had, the fine issued to Penn National would have been much larger.

Lastly, the Board moved to adopt the findings of fact and recommendations of the Administrative Law Judge and issue a final order suspending the Level 3 occupational license of Elizabeth Capuano retroactively commencing on the date of the Board’s initial vote to revoke her license and ending today.

Video Gaming

During his opening remarks, the Chairman reiterated that next month’s meeting will be held in Springfield, and he invited the industry to present at the meeting information and ideas on player reward or tracking programs for the IGB to consider for video gaming. The Administrator spoke briefly, only stating that there are currently 5,944 licensed locations with 26,036 live Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs).

The Board heard public commentary by Matthew J. McCreary, the Director of Responsible Gambling & Student Support Programs at Morneay Shepell. Mr. McCreary provided the Board with more information regarding the services offered at the Illinois problem gambling hotline. According to Mr. McCreary, there has been an overall decline in phone calls to problem gambling hotlines. The foundation has recently implemented new and alternative strategies adding a texting helpline, a live chat solution and reoccurring motivational messages. Their services are now multi-digital. Although the data for Illinois is limited at this time, Mr. McCreary mentioned two state case studies that speak to the success of the newly implemented multi-digital platform. Mr. McCreary stated that he would be happy to return in approximately six to eight months and share the Illinois program results.

While there were no new terminal operator (TO) licenses issued, initial licenses were granted to 40 terminal handlers, 1 technician and 96 locations.

There were also a number of license renewals granted. The terminal hander, technician and location licenses that were up for renewal this month, and who provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements were approved. The Board also granted the distributor license renewal of Chicago Gaming Company. The following TO license renewals:

  • Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC
  • Arkadian Gaming, LLC
  • Ashiq Gaming, LLC
  • B&B Amusement of Illinois, LLC
  • Compact Disc Amusements, Limited
  • Dragonfly Gaming, Inc.
  • Emperor Video Slots Corporation
  • Fair Share Gaming, LLC
  • Gold Rush Amusements, Inc.
  • Heck Gaming, LLC
  • Illinois Video Gaming, Inc.
  • Laurel Gaming, LLC
  • Leisure Time Gaming & Amusements, Inc.
  • Mississippi Gaming and Amusements, LLC
  • Wami Gaming, LLC

License renewal consideration for Abraham Gaming, LLC was tabled due to outstanding items, and Windy City Gaming LLC was issued a notice of nonrenewal for allegedly failing to timely pay its renewal fee.

Board issued a notice of disassociation to Gold Rush Amusements, Inc., ordering its disassociation from Michael B. Stillman and MB Stillman Group due to Mr. Stillman’s alleged failure to cooperate with the Board’s criminal investigation.

The Board denied the applications of one terminal handler/technician and the following seven establishments:

  • Lucky’s Lounge LLC d/b/a Lucky’s Lounge
  • JRW Electrical Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Bottoms Up on 7th
  • Rich and Don’s Hair Flair, Inc. d/b/a JR’s Nightclub
  • Brad & Chadd, Inc. d/b/a Spankys Byron Inn
  • Karzelle, Inc. d/b/a One Eye Jacks #1
  • Albari, Inc. d/b/a Tuscan Grill
  • Fradillio, Corp. d/b/a Fradillios Hot Dogs

The Board also issued notices of nonrenewal to two locations: EPM 12th Street Company d/b/a Pat’s Pub and Lynncoryan Management, Inc. d/b/a Wings Etc.

While the Board approved the request to reapply of John Somolski d/b/a John’s North Star Inn and Meng 888 Limited d/b/a Red Ox, it denied the request to reapply of KBL&K Corp. d/b/a Red Diamonds.

The Board issued a number of disciplinary complaints against Video Gaming licensees.

  • Gold Rush Amusements, Inc. was fined $5,000 for allegedly failing to timely submit its renewal application.
  • Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC was fined $10,000 for allegedly associating with an unsuitable individual, although the Board did not name the individual.
  • The IGB is seeking to revoke the handler license of Rafael Santano due to his alleged criminal conviction.
  • The IGB is seeking to revoke the establishment license of Mi Chapala Inc. d/b/a Mi Chapala for allegedly having an active tax liability and failing to segregate the gaming area despite repeated warnings.
  • The IGB is seeking to revoke the establishment license of JCH, Inc. d/b/a j.j.’s 610 tap and JCH, Inc. d/b/a Big Four for allegedly failing to timely inform the Board of the owner’s arrest and the alleged conduct that led to that arrest.
  • Phalanx, Inc. d/b/a Little Fort was fined $4,014.50, or approximately 50 percent of its Net Terminal Income (NTI), for allegedly operating without a valid liquor license.
  • Yugo Grill, LLC d/b/a Yugo Grill was fined $5,000 for allegedly permitting underage drinking and gambling at the establishment.
  • The IGB is seeking a $5,000 fine for each of the following three establishments for allegedly permitting illegal gambling on the premises:
    • Nancy L. Derubeis d/b/a Steven and Nancy’s Boardwalk Tap
    • The Right Stop Too, Inc. d/b/a Conrad’s Saloon
    • Ricky R. Kwit & Mary Jo Boland d/b/a Jackpot Bingo Too!

The Board also addressed a number of settlements pertaining to previously issued disciplinary complaints, including rescinding the following three complaints:

  • Notice of Disassociation directed to J&J Ventures regarding Jason L. Smith.
  • DC-V-1722 issued to Moore’s Pub, Inc. d/b/a Moore’s Pub.
  • DC-V-1701 issued to Animik, Inc. d/b/a Barrister’s Pizza and Pub. The Board also granted the establishment’s request to surrender its license as the business is now closed.

The Board granted authority to the Administrator and staff to enter into settlements and dismiss the complaints issued against the following eleven locations:

  • Cheers Lounge Inc. d/b/a Cheers Lounge Inc.
  • Lucky Jacks Inc. d/b/a Lucky Jack’s
  • BHB Berwyn, LLC d/b/a Big Hurt Brewhouse
  • Awesome Hands Services, LLC d/b/a Awesome Hand Gaming
  • South Side Boat Club d/b/a South Side Boat Club
  • Sophie’s, LLC d/b/a Sarah’s
  • Andrew Gosney d/b/a The Speakeasy
  • Loke, Inc. d/b/a Wolve’s Crossing Golf
  • Downtown Bartlett Inc. d/b/a Papa Pacino
  • Elite Café & Billiards, Inc. d/b/a Elite Billiards
  • Casale Pizza, Inc. d/b/a Casale Pizza

Lastly, The IGB moved to enter an order of summary suspension effective immediately and issue disciplinary complaints revoking the establishment licenses of the following locations for allegedly failing to monitor VGTs at the establishment:

  • Aunt Betty’s Barbeque & Spirits, LLC d/b/a Aunt B’s Place
  • Champagne Rentals LLC d/b/a Food & Fun Emporium
  • Lucky Me LLC d/b/a Lucky Me

That’s it for this month. Please call if you have any questions.

Donna B. More
Partner, Fox Rothschild
312.517.9215
[email protected]

Bill Bogot
Partner, Fox Rothschild
312.517.9205
[email protected]