At StakeMay 25, 2017 – Newsletters
Happy Spring! The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Chicago. We have provided a summary of both the Riverboat and Video Gaming Meetings below.
The meeting began with the Chairman thanking the casinos for their focused attention regarding minority and woman-owned contracts. He also addressed the abundance of waivers for the Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) contracting goals that have been filed, however, he felt such waivers were premature, as the monthly contracting goals are not required to be fulfilled until next year. Member Robinson also congratulated the casinos on the improvements made to their websites to present MWBE opportunities, and the Chairman thanked Member Robinson for her continued efforts to collaborate with the casinos to make such website improvements.
The meeting continued with public commentary from Darren VanDover, S.V.P. and General Manager of Harrah’s Joliet. Mr. Van Dover stated that he will be taking the position of the General Manager of the Harrah’s Kansas City property and expressed gratitude to the Illinois Gaming Board, specifically thanking the Harrah Joliet’s Dock Supervisor and Administrator Ostrowski.
Regarding board policy items, the IGB staff presented an amendment to create Rule 273. This amendment is seeking to codify existing practices of shipping electronic gaming media separately from gaming cabinets. If you have any questions regarding this rule or would like us to comment on your behalf, please contact us to discuss the matter further.
The Board voted to approve and finalize numerous motions related to the Caesars’ restructuring and emergence from bankruptcy. The approvals were concerning corporate restructuring, REIT and refinancing plan of different Harrah’s properties within the state. Also included in these motions was the approval of the Level 1 occupational license of Greg A. Sitar as Director of Casino Operations and approval of the supplier license of VICI Properties 1, LLC.
The Board also approved the Level 1 occupational licenses of Chy Stewart as the Vice President of Casino Operations for HC Joliet, LLC s/b/a Hollywood Casino Joliet and Mark Edward Bennet as President and General Manager of Rock Island Boatworks d/b/a Jumer’s Casino and Hotel.
The Board granted 82 Level 2 and 111 Level 3 occupational licenses and issued one notice of denial.
The Board issued disciplinary complaints revoking the occupational licenses of two individuals for reasons that included an alleged arrest and subsequent felony conviction and an alleged retail theft.
Finally, the Board moved to fine Boyd Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino (Par-A-Dice) $125,000 for allegedly failing to prevent a self-excluded patron from entering the gaming area, obtaining funds and gambling. Member Robinson commented that the Board takes matters related to the self-exclusion list very seriously and Chairman Tracy reiterated her sentiment. He included that Par-A-Dice self-reported the incident and has since cooperated with the IGB’s efforts. Had this not been the case, the fine would have been much more substantial.
Video Gaming Meeting
The Chairman began the Video Gaming Meeting by reading a letter from Andy Scwiarski thanking the IGB and staff for their continued efforts in improving the video gaming industry and reforming how operators do business. The Chairman commented that he appreciated such a letter since, often times, they are only contacted in regards to complaints or disciplinary actions.
The Administrator followed by providing his monthly update and stating that there are now 6,091 live locations with 26,736 Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs). The Chairman and the Administrator then briefly discussed that such a number is equal to approximately 22 riverboats. They commended the job the IGB staff does monitoring such gaming expansion without receiving more staff or support.
The IGB Legal Staff continued by introducing amendments to the Video Gaming Act (VGA) Rules 595, 615 and 715. The Rule 595 amendments include new procedures regarding shutting down VGTs in establishments without valid liquor licenses or establishments that have an outstanding tax liability of over 100 days. In either situation, the machines will be reactivated only after the issue is corrected, a payment of $100 per VGT is paid and the IGB has approved the reset. It should also be noted that the shutdown would not preclude the IGB from issuing disciplinary complaints to the establishments. Legal staff included that the establishment may seek a waiver of the $100 fine per machine under certain circumstances. The Rule 615 and 715 amendments discussed are seeking to clarify when service of a complaint and/or a denial is deemed complete. Currently, the rules state that service is deemed complete four days after mailing. Once published, we will review these rules amendments.
Skybox Gaming Group, LLC was granted an initial terminal operator (TO) license for one year. Illinois Interactive Gaming, LLC was denied for allegedly failing to demonstrate suitability for licensure.
The Board granted the initial licenses of 43 terminal handlers, 1 technician and 70 locations.
There were also a number of license renewals granted. The terminal handler, 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 were renewed, as were the licenses of the following TOs and Distributors/Manufacturers/Suppliers:
- Gaming & Entertainment Management – Illinois, LLC;
- Hyperactive Gaming, LLC;
- Illinois Gaming Investors LLC;
- LZ Entertainment LLC;
- Tap Room Gaming, LLC; and
- Novomatic Americas Sales LLC
The Board denied the applications of five terminal handlers/technicians and the following seven establishments:
- Darla Reiter d/b/a The Sound Bar;
- Phase IV – D, Inc. d/b/a Trudy’s Café Cash Island;
- Omega Bar & Grill, LTD. d/b/a Omega Bar & Grill LTD;
- Mort’s Tap, Inc. d/b/a Mort’s Tap;
- Smoking Grill & Pizzeria LLC d/b/a Smoking Grill & Pizzeria;
- El Tollo Corporation d/b/a Little Mexico Restaurant; and
- Symerton Tap, LLC d/b/a Symerton Tap LLC.
The Board issued notices of non-renewals to Cousin Vinny’s LTD d/b/a Cousin Vinny’s and Zupa, Inc. d/b/a Zupa.
The Board found that the owners of JRW Electrical d/b/a Bottoms Up on 7th are no longer statutorily ineligible and, as a result, the Board moved to rescind the denial and granted the location a license. If you remember from last month’s meeting, Donna More addressed the Board on behalf of this location, presenting further information for the Board’s consideration.
Unfortunately, not all hearing requests had the same outcome. The Board denied the requests for hearing from 100 Proof Gaming d/b/a The Hot Spot, Mazzarisi Gaming Inc. d/b/a Maria’s Gaming Lounge and Julie L. Reaves d/b/a Ed & Millies Tavern.
The requests to reapply of Red Carpet Ent Inc. d/b/a Red Carpet Lounge and Jay Lay’s Bar & Grill d/b/a Tortuga’s Bar & Grill were granted.
The Board issued the following disciplinary complaints against Video Gaming licensees:
- The Board is seeking a $5,000 fine from Village Garden Restaurant Inc. d/b/a Village Garden Restaurant for allegedly failing to monitor the VGT area;
- The Board is seeking a $5,000 fine from Illinois Video Gaming Inc. for allegedly failing to obtain the Administrators approval prior to moving or installing VGTs;
- The Board is seeking a $2,500 fine from Illinois Gaming Investors LLC d/b/a Prairie State for allegedly failing to remove VGTs from a location for a six month period; and lastly
- The Board is seeking a $100,000 fine from Gaming Entertainment Management – Illinois, LLC for allegedly failing to pay 50% of the after tax profits to a licensed establishment.
The Board granted a motion to rescind the notice of non-renewal to T&G Inc. d/b/a All Star Bar & Grill and granted the renewal retroactive to July 2016 for a one year term expiring July 2017.
The Board granted authority to the Administrator and staff to enter into a settlement of $1,000 and dismiss the complaint issued against Mi Chapala Inc. d/b/a Mi Chapala.
Lastly, the Board accepted the recommendations and final order of the administrative law judge fining 4 Play Pub N’ Grub, LLC d/b/a Route 12 Bar & Grill $5,000 for allegedly serving alcohol to a minor and allowing minors to access VGTs.
The meeting was then adjourned.
As always, if you have any questions about the recent meeting, please feel free to call us.
Donna B. More
Partner, Fox Rothschild
Partner, Fox Rothschild