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At Stake

June 18, 2018Newsletters

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its monthly meetings on June 12-13, 2018. In attendance at the open meeting were Chairman Tracy and Members Alejandre, Dolan and Robinson. As you recall, Member Hansen resigned from the Board. Also in attendance was Acting Administrator Lorenzini. 

Riverboat Casino Open Session Meeting

The meeting began with the Board’s approval of the minutes from its May 23, 2018 open session meeting. 

The Chairman noted that the Board meeting of September 21, 2018 is being rescheduled to September 14, 2018.

Hollywood Casino, Joliet, asked for initial consideration of the renewal of its Owner’s License and presented a video to the Board.  Chairman Tracy asked Hollywood Casino’s general manager the impact video gaming had on its business.  Hollywood Casino’s general manager stated that she felt the first few months of the year business was slow, but she felt it was more related to the weather.

Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC dba Rivers Casino sought initial consideration of the transfer by one of the trusts for the benefit of a new trust.

Courtney R. Moritz of Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation dba Par-A-Dice was granted a Level I occupational license. 

Global Payments Gaming Services, Inc. had its supplier’s license renewed.

The Board approved 20 Level 2 occupational licenses and 67 Level 3 occupational licenses.

That concluded this month’s Riverboat Casino Open Session Meeting.

Video Gaming Open Session Meeting

The Board approved the minutes from its May 23, 2018 open session meeting.

In the Chairman’s opening remarks, he stated that there is an increase in the number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that the IGB is receiving. He further said that he believes that denied applicants and licensees involved in disciplinary proceedings are using FOIA and Open Meetings Act (OMA) challenges not to “better the government” but to get an advantage or leverage in cases against the IGB. The Chairman openly asked the General Assembly to make legislative changes to exempt the Board’s deliberations from FOIA and OMA.

It was interesting. Likely, the Chairman’s comments were spurred from a recent court decision finding, among other things, that the IGB violated the OMA. The debate on government transparency continues.

Next, the Administrator announced there are currently 6,523 video gaming locations and 29,308 operating video gaming terminals. The Administrator also reminded the audience of recent amendments to Rule 320 which we have discussed in prior newsletters. In particular, those amendments (effective February 2018) provide that a use agreement must:

  1. state which sales agent, broker or other person, if any, procured the use agreement on behalf of the terminal operator;
  2. not provide for automatic renewal in the absence of cancellation; and
  3. not be for a length of time exceeding eight years.

The Administrator made clear that locations going live after the effective date of that rule change will must have use agreements that comply with the new requirement, regardless of whether the use agreements were executed prior to the effective date of the rule change. There is some debate in the legal community as to whether this retroactive application is constitutional, and whether this application is in accordance with what the Board represented to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules when the amendment was proposed, so we will have to see how this plays out.

Moving on, supplier license renewals were granted to Curo Group, LLC and NRT Technology Corp.

The IGB rescinded the prior denial of Illinois Interactive Gaming, LLC’s terminal operator application, voted to grant it a terminal operator license, and authorized the Administrator to enter into a settlement agreement with the applicant relating to its legal challenge of the license application denial.

The following terminal operators had their licenses renewed: AP Gaming, LLC; DaRoute LLC; and Golden Route Operations.

The Board approved 37 terminal handler licenses and 107 location applications. There was only one denial for the Unique Smoke Shop, allegedly for failure to disclose information.

Disciplinary Actions

The Board issued disciplinary complaints revoking the licenses of the following locations: Charlie’s Lounge and Mama Mia’s for alleged tax liabilities and/or expired liquor licenses.

Goldy’s Bar and Grill was issued a Complaint with the Board seeking a fine for the location operating VGTs allegedly with an expired liquor license.

The Board issued complaints against The Other End and Burbank Grill seeking revocation for the locations allegedly engaging in conduct that discredits the gaming industry.

The following locations were fined $5000 for allegedly allowing underage gaming: Lucky 13; Lacy’s Place; Dawn’s Beach Hut; and Bull Dog Ale House. Member Robinson remarked that underage gaming is an important issue and a second offense may result in revocation. Again, this issue has caused some debate in the legal community, as the Video Gaming Act seems to indicate that the most the Board can do is fine a location. According to the Video Gaming Act, “ Any licensee who knowingly permits a person under the age of 21 years to use or play a video gaming terminal is guilty of a business offense and shall be fined an amount not to exceed $5,000.” Of course, regardless of the legal penalty on this matter, we all agree that underage gambling should not be tolerated and we implore the gaming industry to be diligent.

Non-Renewals

Thirteen locations were not renewed because of alleged outstanding tax liabilities: Hixster’s Bar & Grill; C&F Investment Inc., d/b/a Diamond Jim’s; John’s Tavern, Inc.; Bad Kitty’s Top Hat Saloon; Mexican Honorary Commission; Taqueria Olvera; Bear’s Showtown USA, Inc.; How-Dog, Inc.; TEJ Sports Connection, Inc.; Lavue Bar & Grill; Smoke Trail BBQ; Lucky’s Beef & Dog; and Soundin Safe LLC, d/b/a The Vault.

The IGB voted to issue an emergency contract extension regarding Gaming Laboratory International’s contracts as a testing lab in Illinois for both the Riverboat and Video Gaming.

That concluded the video gaming meeting. Enjoy the summer until the next IGB meeting in August.