United States: At Stake (September 1, 2015)

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 31 in Chicago. Below is a summary of both the Riverboat and Video Gaming Meetings.

Riverboat Meeting

Opening remarks included congratulations to Pattie Lowe on her retirement from the IGB after 30 years of service. We will miss you Pattie, thanks for the good times!

Initial consideration for Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino's license renewal was discussed as was the initial consideration for a refinancing plan of MGM Resorts International.

The Board tabled the supplier renewal of Gaming Partners International USA, Inc., but approved the following licensee items: Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a River Casino's  license renewal; Boyd Gaming Corporation's refinancing transaction; Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino's waiver of the two meeting rule regarding trust reorganization for estate planning purposes; Patrick Kauffman as Surveillance Director of Hollywood Casino Aurora; the voluntary surrender of the supplier license of Cummins-Allison Corp.; the supplier license renewal of IGT; 75 Level-2 occupational licenses; and 133 Level-3 occupational licenses.

Regarding revocation of licenses and disciplinary complaints, the Board:

  • Revoked the occupational license of the IT Director of Jumers Casino based on the recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge.
  • Revoked the occupational licensee of Par-A-Dice Casino based on the recommendation of the Administrative Law Judge.
  • Issued a $10,000 fine to IGT for allegedly failing to timely submit license renewal materials.
  • Issued a one-day suspension to David Condon of Harrah's Joliet for allegedly failing to obtain the administrator's permission before approving the transfer of progressive jackpot funds between gaming devices.
  • Issued a five-day suspension to Tyler Perry of Hollywood Casino Joliet for allegedly violating the casino's non-solicitation policy.

Additionally, the Board revoked six occupational licenses for the following alleged offenses: theft; failure to submit all receipts; possession of illegal substances; being intoxicated while on duty; accepting and inserting a voucher while off duty; and failure to inform the Board and employer of arrest and plea of guilty.

Video Gaming Meeting

The Chairman's opening remarks included discussion of the findings in the Circuit Court's decision in Hometown Plaza v. IGB. The Chairman described the Circuit Court's ruling against the Board as a "set back" and stated that the IGB intends to appeal the lower court's decision and implement a rule to address the issue of so-called "casino malls." Please see below for more information regarding the proposed rule.

The Chairman also said the legal team is working on a responsible gaming rule to help problem gamblers. The rule will include a published exclusion list, rules permitting individuals to remove themselves from the list with greater ease than the current process on the riverboat side, an educational component and posting of the repercussions and warnings on video gaming terminal devices.

The Administrator reported that there are 5,616 locations currently operating with a total of 24,023 video gaming terminals. The Administrator also made note that the IGB is currently working on amendments and changes to the inducement policy, but the IGB is not prepared to move forward with the changes at this time. As a result, the current inducement policy remains in place.

There were four speakers during the public commentary portion of the meeting.

Joe Davern of Davern's Tavern & Lounge addressed the Board and stated that terminal operators have too much "power" in the use agreement process. Mr. Davern stated he was unhappy with the service of his operator. The Administrator commented that it is suggested that locations do due diligence on potential terminal operators when entering into contracts and take more affirmative steps in a negotiation with an operator.

Bobby Edwards representing Northenders VFW and an Elks Lodge requested that the Board consider amending Rule 1800.270 in which "owners" of establishments are prohibited from playing video gaming terminals at their locations. Mr. Edwards explained that officers of veteran, fraternal or not-for-profit organizations receive no personal gains or funds from revenue generated from video gaming terminals. Further, the roles in these organizations are held on a volunteer basis without compensation. As a result, Rule 1800.270 will surely make it harder for these establishments to find willing members to fill these leadership positions. Mr. Edward's comments make sense. Since members of veterans, fraternal and nonprofit organizations are the "owners" of the locations; the rule effectively could prohibit any member from playing a video gaming terminal at their location.

Debbie Hester of Chase's Tap, LLC in Rushville addressed the Board regarding her existing disciplinary proceeding with the Board.

Ralph Dillon of the Westshoreland Corporation LLC Homeowner's Association in Mundelein requested that the Board deny the pending truck stop location application of Graham C Store's in Mundelein. According to Mr. Dillon, this location should be ineligible because it allegedly does not possess the required three acres of property.

Proposed Rule 1800.815 Video Locations within Malls

Although the proposed Rule 1800.815 has not been released at this time, we have requested the Board's legal staff send us a copy when it becomes available. Upon its release, the rule will be subject to comments from industry leaders such as yourself. Please share with us your thoughts and ideas regarding the Board's proposal. For the time being, you can listen to the legal staff's commentary here, specifically at minute 31:22. You can tell from the legal staff's vague description of this rule that the Board has a large task ahead of them at this time.

The Board tabled the initial terminal operator license application of RCW Gaming, LLC but approved the following licensee items:

  • LH 1, LLC's initial terminal operator application
  • Donico Gaming, LLC's terminal operator license renewal
  • American Vending Sales, Inc.'s distributor license renewal
  • Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.'s distributor and manufacturer renewal
  • Bally Gaming, Inc.'s distributor, manufacturer and supplier license renewal
  • H. Betti Industries, Inc.'s distributor license renewal
  • IGT's distributor and manufacturer license renewal
  • Konami Gaming, Inc.'s distributor and manufacturer license renewal
  • JCM American Corporation's supplier license renewal
  • 70 terminal handler applications
  • Three terminal technician applications
  • 124 location applications.

The Board issued a notice of nonrenewal to Smikit Corporation d/b/a Kelly's Irish Saloon and notices of denial to the following locations:

  • KHO Corporation d/b/a Knuckle Hedz Bar & Grill
  • Johnny Dollar's Inc. d/b/a Johnny Dollar's
  • Goals Indoor Sports, LTD. d/b/a Goals Indoor Sports
  • Smith Beverages, Inc. d/b/a 21 Club
  • Ladd's Food Mart, Inc. d/b/a Double Take Bar
  • J&J Trainor, Inc. d/b/a J&J's Tavern
  • Oswego Petroleum Inc. d/b/a Oswego Petroleum
  • Panino's Italian Sandwiches & Crab Shack, LLC d/b/a Panino's Italian Sandwiches & Crab Shack
  • Alycent LLC d/b/a Margaritas Restaurant and Lounge
  • Rick and Amy Kauffman d/b/a The Ice Bucket
  • Graham C-Stores Co. d/b/a Countryside Quick Stop

The requests for a hearing for JP Petroleum, Inc., Taco Stan's LLC and Shabbir Nooruddin were denied for allegedly failing to establish a prima facie case or failing to comply with Rule 615, while Mulligans of Rockford Inc.'s request to reapply was granted. The waiver request by Yellow Brick Roads Bars Inc. was denied due to its proximity to an off-track betting facility and Dearborn Gaming LLC was instructed to disassociate from Pasquale Dublino.

The Board brought disciplinary actions against the following licensees:

  • Gold Rush Amusements, Inc. d/b/a Gold Rush Gaming was fined $5,000 for allegedly failing to notify the IGB that a video gaming terminal had been burglarized.
  • Backwaters Bar & Grill, Inc., d/b/a Backwaters Bar & Grill for an alleged violation of conduct undermining the IGB authority resulting in the revocation of the establishment. license unless and answer is filed;
  • Villa Napoli, L.T.D. d/b/a Villa Napoli based on the owner's alleged conduct, which resulted in him being ejected from Rivers Casino resulting in the revocation of the establishment license.
  • Bryan Austin Adams for allegedly engaging in conduct that discredits or tends to discredit the gaming industry resulting in the revocation of his terminal handler license.
  • Grapevine Wine & Martini Bar, LLC d/b/a Grapevine Wine & Martini Bar for allegedly failing to continue to meet the minimum qualifications of a licensee resulting in the revocation of its location license.

The Board granted the Administrator authority to enter into settlements with William Baldock, d/b/a Willy's Drive In for $3,000 settlement; DJ's Pub and Grill, Inc., d/b/a DJ's Pub & Grill for $3,000 settlement; and The Sock Sports Bar & Grill, Inc. d/b/a The Sock Sports Bar & Grill for dismissal of complaint providing that owner is no longer affiliated with the location.

The Board also moved to rescind the previous complaint issued to Bally Gaming based on new facts supplied by Bally and moved to enter the final order adopting the Administrative Law Judge's recommendation to revoke the truck stop license of Martin & Bayley, Inc. d/b/a Huck's Food and Fuel for allegedly failing to meet qualifications.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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