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Illinois Gaming Market

LATEST UPDATES: How COVID-19 is Affecting the Video Gaming Industry

April 1, 2020
These are unprecedented times in our industry and Accel Entertainment is here to assist our partners in any way we can. We are working to keep all lines of communication open and to pass along any new information as it emerges. Please read our updates below. Para leer esta página en español haz clic aquí.

Update March 31, 2020: In response to Governor Pritzker’s extension of the “Stay at Home” order, the Illinois Gaming Board has extended the suspension of statewide video gaming and casino operations until April 30, 2020.  A copy of the Illinois Gaming Board’s press release can be read here.  

Update March 27, 2020: To better assist our small business partner during the COVID-19 pandemic, Accel has compiled some State and Federal assistance programs currently available. To our partner locations: if you are an Illinois slot machine location and have any questions or would like help trying to apply for any of these grant or loan programs, please send an email to relief@accelentertainment.com with your phone number and availability and we will work with you to complete the process.

Accel Resources Available

State Assistance Programs

Illinois has made available a few options for small business grants (free money) and loans (need to pay back).  Full details on all of these options can be found by clicking here; and are summarized below:

  1. Hospitality Emergency Grant Program – Bars and restaurants with under $1m in 2019 revenue can apply for up to $25k in grants (free money) to fund working capital (rent, payroll and accounts payable), job training or technology enabling operations.

Deadline to apply: Wednesday, April 1st at 5pm. Businesses will be selected through a lottery pool of all applicants.

  1. Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – Businesses with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3M in revenue can apply to receive a low interest loan up to $50K with a 5 year repayment. There will be no payments for 6 months to support your business. The form to express interest in this loan will be available by Friday, March 27th.  Once the form is available, you should apply immediately. 

If selected as an eligible business, you will be invited to apply for the loan beginning April 1st.

  1. Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program – Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less in downstate and rural counties across Illinois to secure grants (free money) of up to $25K for working capital (rent, payroll and accounts payable). Please check to see if your business is in an eligible area.

For those who qualify, please work with your local government to submit an application which will be available on Friday, March 27th.

Suspension of Renewal Fees

The Illinois Gaming Board has suspended April license renewal fees in recognition of the hardship COVID-19 has caused.  The fees will now be due 10 business days after the Gaming Board resumes statewide video gaming operations. Click for details.

Federal Stimulus Update

The Senate has passed a federal stimulus package which includes small business loans and cash payments to individuals.  The package still needs to pass through the House of Representatives and be signed into law.  We’ll update you with the specifics of the final package when it becomes law.

If you have any questions or would like help trying to apply for any of these grant or loan programs, send an email to relief@accelentertainment.com with your phone number and availability and we’ll have somebody work with you to complete the process.

Update March 26, 2020: The Illinois Gaming Board (the “Gaming Board”) is issuing this guidance to Video Gaming Licensees regarding payment of license renewal fees during the Statewide Video Gaming Suspension Period in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (the “Suspension Period”).

Prior to the Suspension Period, renewal fees for April licensees were due on or before March 31,
2020. Video Gaming Rule 570 provides that a license expires unless the renewal fee is paid prior to the license expiration date. In recognition of the hardships caused by this unprecedented public health crisis, the Gaming Board has extended the March 31, 2020 renewal fee payment deadline. Renewal fees are now due ten business days after the Gaming Board resumes statewide video gaming operations. To read the full statement from the IGB, please click here.

Additionally, and to further alleviate the burdens caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Gaming Board also suspended billing through at least April 8, 2020. During the Suspension Period, the Gaming Board will not initiate any enforcement actions or assess any penalties for unpaid license fees that came due during this period.

Update March 25, 2020: Due to Governor Pritzker’s “Stay at Home” directive and the Illinois Gaming Board suspending video gaming operations until at least April 8th, we have adjusted our operations at Accel to accommodate the change in business during this unprecedented time.  Our call center (888-972-2235) is still open from 6am – 10pm each day to take calls.  If you need to reach us outside of those hours, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.   

Please know that since the initial suspension of video gaming, the Accel team has been working diligently on our partner locations’ behalf to help them through these difficult times. In addition to other initiatives, we are supporting the “Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act.”

  1. To provide your support, click here
  2. For details on the Act, click here

Further, Accel has created the “Accel Food and Services Guide” to highlight our partner establishments that are still open during this time. To add your business, please click here.

At this time, there are options available through the State and Federal government to help small businesses:

  • Governor Pritzker’s recent issuance of a Disaster Proclamation affords small businesses the option to access Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Low-Interest Loans. Information is currently available on the SBA website, please click here to learn more.
  • The Federal Reserve has announced a “Main Street Lending Program” which can be referenced on federalreserve.gov.
    • This program is designed to supplement any other relief businesses may qualify for from the SBA.  They are finalizing the program as we speak—we will share the details when they come available. 

These programs may be unfamiliar to many. To better support our partner locations, we are working to get a better understanding of how these programs work, what it takes to become eligible, and how to apply. Once we have more specific information on these programs, we will be providing further updates.

Update March 22, 2020: We encourage you to click here to support the Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act (as part of the broader CARES ACT). This plan provides direct and targeted relief designed to benefit restaurant and food service businesses of every size in every corner of the country.

Specifically, the Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act:

  • Provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
  • Expands the allowable uses for 7(a) loans to permit payroll support, including paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Provides $240 million in grants for SBA Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers for counseling, training, and related services for small business owners impacted by COVID-19.
  • Authorizes $25 million for SBA to provide grants to associations representing resource partners to establish an online platform that consolidates resources across multiple Federal agencies and a training program to educate small business counselors on those resources to ensure counselors are directing small businesses appropriately.
  • Provides $10 million in grants for Minority Business Development Agency’s Minority Business Centers to offer small business owners impacted by COVID-19 counseling, training, and technical assistance.
  • Waives the non-federal match requirement for Women’s Business Center’s for a period of three months.

Please take a few moments to participate in this vital grassroots mobilization effort.

Update March 21, 2020: On Friday, March 20, Governor Pritzker announced a "Stay at Home" directive for Illinois beginning Saturday, March 21st at 5 PM until midnight April 7th. In addition, the Illinois Gaming Board announced that all video gaming operations will continue to be suspended until at least April 8th. We will continue to update you as information becomes available.
During this unprecedented time, Accel is supporting our partner locations any way we can, including getting the word out about services they are currently offering. If you have not placed your location on the Accel Food and Services Guide, please click here.
If you are looking for ways to support small businesses at this time, please click here to view our resources.

As of March 16, 2020, the Illinois Gaming Board has made the decision to shut down all video gaming terminals (VGTs) across the state. Starting at 9 PM Monday March 16, 2020 and through March 30th, all licensed video gambling establishments have been ordered to halt gaming operations. To read the full statement from the Illinois Gaming Board, please click here.

Accel Entertainment supports the decision to protect the safety of our fellow Illinois citizens. We also acknowledge and respect the financial impact and strain that such closures will have on our partner establishments. Rest assured that Accel Entertainment is working around the clock to best help our partners.

Accel Entertainment representatives will attempt to visit every location to clean and sanitize the VGTs and the gaming area surrounding them during the shutdown. The health and safety of our players and partner establishments is of paramount importance to Accel Entertainment and we are not taking this situation lightly. In order to best coordinate our sanitization initiative, we urge our location owners to reach out to their Accel representative or call us at (888) 972-2235.

If you have any questions about these latest industry updates, please contact us at hello@accelentertainment.com or give us a call at (888) 972-2235.

Accel Food and Service Guide

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