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At Stake

September 22, 2017Newsletters

L’Shana Tova! The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its monthly meeting on Rosh Hashanah, September 21, 2017, in Chicago. Below is a brief summary of the events of the Riverboat and Video Gaming meetings in which all Board Members besides Member Dolins were present. As a reminder the October meeting scheduled to take place in Springfield has been canceled.

Riverboat

Chairman Tracy began the meeting approving the open session meeting minutes from August. The Chairman had no additional comments and no mention was made of the recent armed robbery at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, IL, in which an unarmed security guard was shot and the perpetrators stole a substantial amount of money.

Administrator Ostrowski continued the meeting by informing attendees that Paul Prezioso, IGB Deputy General Counsel, has decided to leave the IGB and has accepted a position with an Illinois riverboat casino. Both the Administrator and Chairman Tracy congratulated Mr. Prezioso and thanked him for his many years of service to the IGB.

During the public commentary section, Mr. Jerry Prosapio from Gambling Exposed addressed the Board and staff and thanked Gene O’Shea and the IGB for implementing the self-exclusion program. Mr. Prosapio, however, is opposed to lifting the lifetime ban of the self-exclusion list. He believes that deleting the lifetime ban would be destructive to problem gamblers and their families. He invited the Board Members to attend open meetings of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) to learn more about what the self-exclusion list means to GA members.

Following Mr. Prosapio, James Pellum from the IGB’s legal staff addressed the Board during the Board Policy items section to propose an amendment to the existing self-exclusion program. Mr. Pellum explained that the proposed amendment will implement a five-year option while the permanent, or lifetime ban, option will remain available to enrollees. Mr. Pellum stated that the IGB remains committed to the self-exclusion list but would like to see improvements in the policy and an increase in enrollees. The Chairman stated that he personally believes that the five-year option will increase enrollment and he will ask that correspondences received from current enrollees who were unaware of the lifetime ban when they enrolled will be included in the proposed rule amendment’s remarks.

The meeting continued with owner Licensee Items. Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino (Rivers) presented for initial consideration regarding transferring individual ownership interest for estate planning purposes. CEOC, LLC requested initial consideration for refinancing transaction, requested a waiver of the two-meeting rule and requested final consideration of the refinancing transaction. All waivers were approved.

Final consideration and approval was also granted for the following: Cydnel Trias and Karl Stingily as Key Persons of Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel (Harrah’s Joliet) and Southern Illinois Riverboat Casino Cruises, Inc. d/b/a Harrah’s Metropolis Casino (Metropolis); Travis Hankins as Director of Operations for The Rock Island Boatworks, Inc. d/b/a Jumers Casino & Hotel (Jumers); and Sherry Wessel as Vice President and General Manager of Metropolis.

The Board also approved the initial supplier license of Interblock U.S.A. L.C. and the Key Person application of Edward Pitoniak as CEO of VICI Properties 1, LLC.

The Board approved 55 Level 2 and 84 Level 3 occupational licenses, and issued notices of denial to two individuals. The Board also rescinded the denial of Mr. Brandon Stephens issued in August 2017 and granted his occupational license.

The Board issued a number of disciplinary complaints in which they revoked occupational licenses. The Board is seeking to revoke an occupational license for alleged misconduct while on duty at Hollywood Casino Joliet, one occupational license for alleged misconduct while on duty at Hollywood Casino Aurora, and six occupational licenses for alleged involvement in a gambling investigation at Rivers.  Lastly, the Board is seeking to revoke the Level 1 occupational license of an employee of Rivers who was terminated for alleged customer service issues.

The Board continued the meeting by voting to amend the previously issued disciplinary complaint against Penn National by adding additional counts and increasing the fine amount to $750,000. Although the new counts were not mentioned, this complaint was originally issued in March 2017 for allegedly marketing to individuals on the self-exclusion list.

Lastly, the Board granted authority to the Administrator and staff to enter into a settlement of $75,000 and dismiss the disciplinary complaint previously issued against Boyd Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino (“Par-A-Dice”) in May 2017. The Chairman acknowledged that while this is a relatively light fine for an alleged violation involving an enrollee of the self-exclusion program, a number of mitigating factors warranted the lighter fine.

Video Gaming

The Chairman began the meeting with brief comments rescinding the previously implemented inducement guidance and noted that it will be removed from the Board’s website. Until and unless the Board adopts new rules relating to Section 25(C) of the VGA, the current language of the statute and the existing regulations will speak for itself. As a reminder, the existing Rule 250(I) provides that “each licensed terminal operator has an ongoing duty tooffer or provide nothing of value to any licensed video gaming location or any agent or representative of any licensed video gaming location as an incentive or inducement to locate, keep or maintain video gaming terminals at the licensed video gaming location.”

The Board Members had no additional comments while the Administrator provided his monthly location update stating there are 6,266 live locations operating 27,649 Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs).

In the public comment section of the meeting, Mr. Prosapio again addressed the Board. This time, Mr. Prosapio spoke in opposition to potential player rewards and tracking programs. Mr. Prosapio stated that such programs would be detrimental to problem gamblers.

Thereafter, the Board granted initial licenses to 46 terminal handers, one terminal technician, and 80 locations. There were also a number of license renewals granted this month. Bell Gaming LLC was granted its Terminal Operator (TO) license renewal as were the terminal hander, technician, and location licensees 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.

The Board issued notices of non-renewals to the following six locations:

  • J.C. Fairview Development, LLC d/b/a Fairview Quick Stop;
  • Larsens, Inc. d/b/a Larsen’s Corner;
  • Smartington, Inc. d/b/a Casino Tavern;
  • Murad Restaurant, LLC d/b/a Mariah’s Restaurant;
  • Brenda Doxsie d/b/a Boneyard Bar; and
  • Brody Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Brody’s Irish Pub.

The Board also denied the application of one terminal handler/technician, and denied the following nine establishments:

  • Saleena’s Food Mart Inc. d/b/a Saleena’s food Mart;
  • Zajas, Incorporated d/b/a Aviston Family Restaurant;
  • Firehouse Pizza & Pub, LLC d/b/a Firehouse Pizza & Pub;
  • New Life Financial 15 LLC d/b/a The Loft Restaurant and Bar;
  • Fox Lake Dog’s Inc. d/b/a Dogs on the Chain;
  • Dorane Salsman d/b/a Cooper’s;
  • Danville Main Street B&G, LLC d/b/a Main St. Bar & Grill;
  • 6319 Roosevelt, Inc. d/b/a Krew; and
  • Ostioneria Briza Azul II Inc. d/b/a Ostioneria Briza Azull II Inc.    

The Board received three requests for hearings this month, but moved to table consideration until the November meeting. The applicants were Hard Luck LLC d/b/a Hard Luck LLC, Brian T. Charley d/b/a O’Charley’s Irish Pub, and Terrance Maloney.

The Board received and granted requests to reapply from two locations: Sit-N-Bull 2 Incorporated d/b/a Sit-N-Bull and Monessa Corporation d/b/a Mango Restaurant. 

The Board issued the following disciplinary complaints against Video Gaming licensees:

  • The Board is seeking to revoke the terminal handler license of Jeremy Munos for alleged misconduct;
  • The Board is seeking to revoke the establishment license of Bruce D. Hertz d/b/a Town Pump Bowl & Lounge due to the death of the owner and the inactive status of the location;
  • The Board is seeking a $1,000 fine from North Main Bar, Inc. d/b/a North Main Bar for alleged improper conduct of a Person with Significant Influence or Control (PSIC) of the location for allegedly leaving several inappropriate voicemails on an IGB agent’s phone;
  • The Board is seeking to revoke the Terminal Handler license of Martez Frank Burden for allegedly failing to cooperate with Board agents regarding Rule 220 (Continuing Duty to Report Information);
  • The Board is seeking to revoke the truck stop license of Kartar Truck Stop, LLC d/b/a Woodhull Travel Place for allegedly failing to have an employee monitor the entrance to the Video Gaming Terminal (VGT) area;
  • The Board is seeking a $5,000 fine from eighteen establishments for allegedly allowing underage persons to access, use, or play VGTs:
    • Chronister Oil Company d/b/a Qik-N-EZ (131001688);
    • Road Ranger, L.L.C. d/b/a Road Ranger (121006440) ;
    • Kents Sunset Inn, Inc. d/b/a The Sunset Inn;
    • J&M Family, Fun & Food, Inc. d/b/a Godfather’s Pizza #14512 (120704057);
    • BSJ Incorporated d/b/a Mario’s Pizza Company;
    • Springfield Post No. 32, The American Legion, Department of Illinois d/b/a Springfield Post #32 The American Legion;
    • Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet Inc. d/b/a Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet;
    • Hooters of Aurora, Inc. d/b/a Hooters;
    • Salerno’s Aurora, Inc. d/b/a Salerno’s Pizzeria & R Bar;
    • Skotini, Inc. d/b/a Pomegranate Restaurant;
    • Paulie’s Pub & Grill, LLC d/b/a Paulie’s Pub & Grille;
    • MZBD Inc. d/b/a The Town Bar & Grill;
    • Miss Lee’s Social Club Inc. d/b/a Miss Lee’s Social Club;
    • Stoney’s Incorporated d/b/a Stoney’s Tap, Inc.;
    • Toplay  LLC d/b/a Elferno Bistro;
    • Sans of Montgomery, Inc. d/b/a Rosati’s Pizza; and
    • Speedway LLC d/b/a Speedway #4333 (161002413).

The Board rescinded disciplinary complaints against the following establishments after receiving  information that outstanding tax liabilities were settled, fines issued by the Administrator were timely paid, or evidence showed that VGTs were not accessible unless an employee is present:

  • Carlos Tequila Grill Corp. d/b/a Carlos Tequila Grill;
  • Dutch Hollow Barn Corp. d/b/a Dutch Hollow Barn;
  • Stimac Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Stimac’s Restaurant and Bar;
  • Fisholee Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Nero’s Pizza and Pub;
  • TKW Group d/b/a Tilted Kilt;
  • Hogs & Hydrants Inc. d/b/a Hogs & Hydrants; and
  • Village Garden Restaurant, Inc. d/b/a Village Garden Restaurant.

The Board granted authority to the Administrator and staff to enter into settlements and, where necessary, dismiss the disciplinary complaints of William Case & Diana Johns and AOD Management Inc. d/b/a Mt Olive Bowl.

Lastly, the Board accepted the Final Order and Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) Opinion regarding D&A Company d/b/a The Fogcutter and issued a final order rescinding counts 3,4, and 6 of the complaint.

As you can see from the last three months, it appears that the IGB and staff are not slowing down on the underage sting operations. Remind location owners and staff to be vigilant. Helpful tips include retaining video surveillance of the date and time in question, jotting down names or accounts of eyewitnesses, and cooperating with the agent’s requests for information. These tips are also applicable as the football season revs up.

Enjoy your October!