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September 17, 2018Newsletters

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its September monthly meeting on Friday, September 14 in Chicago. Below is a summary of the Riverboat Meeting and the Video Gaming Meeting.

RIVERBOAT

The Chairman opened his comments by apologizing for the meeting’s late start but said it was the result of the great progress they have made on a number of backlogged items. He thanked the legal department, especially Acting Administrator Lorenzini, for their continued dedication and excellent work. Next, the Chairman reported that the November meetings (open session meeting on Nov. 2) will be held in Springfield as previously scheduled.

To conclude his commentary, the Chairman asked Gene O’Shea of the IGB to provide an update on the self-exclusion program. Mr. O’Shea spoke about technological advancements, such as an online registration and monthly emails offering support and resources, that are aimed at helping individuals suffering from problem gambling. He provided information on current enrollees of the self-exclusion program, successful removal from the program and planned changes to the program’s enrollment.

The meeting continued with public commentary by Tom Swoik, Executive Director of The Illinois Casino Gaming Association (ICGA), and his summary of a previous meeting he had with Acting Administrator Lorenzini regarding current hurdles facing the Illinois casinos and ways to remain competitive with casinos in neighboring states. Mr. Swoik said the ICGA is excited about the future and hopes to work closely with the IGB to quickly implement technological advancements occurring in the industry.

Following these comments, the Board approved Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s request to convert its refinancing transaction from final consideration to initial consideration. The Board also approved the Request for Transfer of Ownership Interest in Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino Hotel to JD Holdings, LLC and subsequently approved Jonathon Eilian as a Key Person. The Board approved the transfer of ownership in Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino among Bluhm-Wolf family trusts for estate planning purposes. Lastly, Corrine Slinde-Mally, Jeffrey Caudle, and Robert Thursby were all approved as Level 1 licensees.

The meeting continued with supplier licensee items and the Board approving the license renewals of Ditronics Financial Services LLC, GLP Capital, L.P., and Interblock USA L.C.

The Board issued licenses to 154 Level 2 and 89 Level 3 applicants, issued one notice of denial and granted three Requests for a Hearing.

Lastly, the Board issued disciplinary complaints revoking the Level 2 occupational licenses of three individuals for their alleged misconduct and/or allegedly failing to follow internal controls. The Board also issued a disciplinary complaint seeking a $5,000 fine from Ditronics Financial Services for allegedly failing to timely submit renewal materials.

VIDEO GAMING

There were no Chairman or Board Member comments and the Administrator spoke only briefly, stating that there are currently over 6,547 licensed locations with 29,441 live Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs).

The Board heard public commentary from two speakers. Claudia Cox of Gaggle Dining Corporation d/b/a Longshot’s Sports Pub addressed the Board seeking approval of Longshot’s retail establishment license. Ms. Cox shared her story as a small business owner who was negatively affected by the denial of Longshot’s license renewal. The location did not have its license renewed after being in operation for a number of years without any issues. Then, without any notice, the location license was not renewed for alleged failures in state tax payments. While Longshot’s should have received a mandatory hearing (in accord with the Gaming Act and the Administrative Procedures Act), the IGB instead turned the games off. Because of Longshot’s lost revenue, Ms. Cox was forced to lay off employees. The Chairman interrupted Ms. Cox to state that Longshot’s would be licensed at this meeting, however, Ms. Cox continued her commentary and painted the picture of the impact the IGB’s decisions have on small business owners and the damage that was done to Longshot’s reputation. The effect of the IGB’s actions were to cause Longshot’s to be on the brink of closing. Even with the licensure, the location will need to fight to regain its business.

Kathy Pals, Director of Compliance for J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC, addressed the Board to discuss the responsibility that Terminal Operators (TO) have to ensure responsible gaming practices. Specifically, Ms. Pals presented information on J&J’s implementation of separate gaming rooms and installed ID scanners. The Board had numerous follow-up questions including the potential of possible inducements with such installations and build outs.

The meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to TO applicant Aces Up Gaming LLC, 76 terminal handlers, 1 terminal technician and 237 locations. 

There were also a number of license renewals granted. 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. Their licenses were renewed, as were the TO licenses of Bell Gaming LLC and FJC Technologies LLC.

The Board denied the applications of two terminal handlers/technicians and the following fifteen establishments:

  • Pub 225 LLC d/b/a Pub 225
  • Johnny Dollar’s Inc. d/b/a Johnny Dollar’s
  • JoAnn Dawson d/b/a Joe Jo’s Tavern
  • Fill-Up Mart, Inc. d/b/a Fill-Up Mart #12
  • G and G Valley Ridge LLC d/b/a Valley Ridge Golf Course
  • Caliber Management LLC d/b/a Caliber Management LLC
  • Antguel, Inc. d/b/a Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant 
  • Champs Bar & Grill Inc. d/b/a Champs Bar & Grill
  • Big Muddy Pub LLC d/b/a Bottle and Barrel
  • Angie’s Whistle Stop, Inc. d/b/a Angie’s Whistle Stop, Inc.
  • Lacey’s Place LLC Series Belvidere 2 d/b/a Lucky Penny’s
  • Lacey’s Place LLC Series Clinton d/b/a Lacey’s Place
  • Lacey’s Place LLC Series Crestwood 2 d/b/a Lacey’s Place
  • Lacey’s Place LLC Series DeKalb d/b/a Lacey’s Place LLC Series DeKalb
  • Lacey’s Place LLC Series River Grove d/b/a Lacey’s Place

The Board addressed 15 Requests for Hearings. Seven requests were denied, five requests were granted and three licensees had their application denials rescinded and were granted licensure.

The following five locations had their requests to reapply granted:

  • I & I Madison Mart Corporation d/b/a Madison Liquor and More
  • Corner Spot, Inc. d/b/a The Kave
  • C L Quick Stop of Belvidere, Inc. d/b/a Lucky Poker
  • Roger Salmon d/b/a Monticello Bowl & Lounge
  • East Cape Pizza LLC d/b/a Pit Stop Pizza

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

  • The Board is seeking to revoke the handler license of James Pruitt as a result of his alleged felony conviction.
  • The Board is seeking a $2,000 fine from Grumpy’s Smokehouse, Inc. d/b/a Grumpy’s Smokehouse for allegedly failing to properly monitor the VGT area.
  • The Board is seeking a $2,500 fine from Pal-Rose Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Nancy’s Pizza for alleged VGT play by its owner.
  • The Board is seeking $5,000 fine from nine establishments for allegedly permitting minors to play VGTs:
    • Tony’s Breakfast Café, LLC d/b/a Tony’s Breakfast Café
    • Puzzled Minds Management Group, LLC d/b/a JT’s Corner Tap & Eatery
    • Tavern on 60, Inc. d/b/a Tavern on 60
    • Amsia Market LLC d/b/a Annie’s Place
    • Clover Restaurant Group LLC d/b/a Shamrocks Café
    • BK & MM Ventures LLC d/b/a Kane County Rookies
    • CDT Enterprise, Inc. d/b/a Playoffs Bar & Grill
    • Hallie & Glenn Inc. d/b/a D’Arcy’s Pint
    • Grand Tavern, Inc. d/b/a Grand Tavern

The Board granted authority to the Administrator and staff to enter into settlements and dismiss the complaints issued against R.W. Skip Smith, Inc. d/b/a Jesse Oaks, Gountanis Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Gojos, IBPO Elks of the World, Capital City Lodge #1160 d/b/a Capital City Lodge #1160, and Paredes & Schmitt LLC d/b/a Famous City Billiards. The Board found James Stewart eligible for licensure, rescinded the complaint against Mr. Stewart and granted Mr. Stewart a license.

The last agenda item of the meeting was the presentations by counsel in regards to BMM North America, Inc. v. Illinois Gaming Board, et al., 2017 CH 02587 pursuant to the July 25, 2018 court order. This case pertains to the 2017 independent test lab RFP and the IGB awarding the contract to Gaming Laboratories International (GLI). BMM’s counsel alleged bias and misconduct on the part of IGB staff in regard to the procurement process and award of the contract to GLI. The Board voted not to reverse its previous decision in this case and GLI remains the only independent test lab in Illinois at this time. The complete audio recording of the presentation, including Chairman Tracy’s comments, is published on the IGB’s website