Every month, the Illinois Gaming Board (“IGB”) meets to discuss any changes in the Illinois gaming market and issue licensing and disciplinary decisions. What follows is a repost of the notes by our friends at Fox Rothschild in their “At Stake” Newsletter. You can also find official IGB meeting minutes on the IGB website. The minutes of each IGB meeting are typically posted following the next scheduled meeting of the Board.
The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) returned from its COVID-19 furlough on June 11, 2020 by holding its monthly meeting via webinar. Members present included Member Hayden, Member Garcia and Chairman Schmadeke. The meeting began with the approval of the last meeting’s minutes, which were from January.
The meeting continued with the Chairman’s opening comments. In his comments, Chairman Schmadeke spoke briefly to acknowledge that Member Dolins has resigned for personal reasons and thanked him for his service to the Board. Chairman Schmadeke expressed gratitude to the IGB staff for continuing to perform all of the essential tasks of the IGB during this crisis. Member Hayden and Member Garcia both echoed those comments.
The Administrator’s comments followed, which covered an array of topics. Administrator Fruchter began by acknowledging the unprecedented times we are currently facing, but reassured the audience that the IGB is still keeping up with its investigations, licensing and disciplinary responsibilities. He stated that staff members in every department are working remotely when possible to continue functioning and serving the people of Illinois.
The Administrator stated that the priority of the IGB, however, is to protect the health and safety of gaming patrons, those in the industry, and the IGB staff. He also sent his condolences to those experiencing hardships directly related to the COVID-19 crisis. The Administrator also took a moment to address the IGB’s commitment to equality and tolerance and that his thoughts are with anyone who may have suffered from racial injustice.
The Administrator continued his comments by addressing the resumption of gaming and the recently released protocols issued by the IGB. While the timing of reopening is still unknown at this time, the Administrator did say that is depends on the progress of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan.
We have sent out a few emails regarding the new reopening protocols and are available to assist drafting plans that comply with the IGB’s new policies. Please reach out to us if you want us to review your plans or have any questions/concerns as we have already received quite a few questions that we will be submitting to staff.
Next, the Administrator mentioned that on May 28, 2020 the IGB posted a new proposed Branding Rule related to Sports Wagering, however it has yet to be filed with the Secretary of State. The proposed rule can be found here.
The purpose of this proposed rule is to clarify certain provisions in The Sports Wagering Act. The IGB is requesting public comments on this rule be submitted by June 29, 2020 via email to IGB.RuleComments@igb.illinois.gov. If you would like to discuss this rule further or have any comments you would like us to submit, please let us know.
The Administrator then raised the highly debated proposed Inducement Rule for video gaming. He stated that he has heard rumors of Terminal Operators paying municipal license fees and that this practice is NOT permitted. The proposed rule (found here) was published on March 20, 2020 and is still available for comments until June 20. The Administrator also took a moment to remind licensees of their continued duty to report improper conduct as dictated in Rule 220(d).
Lastly, the Administrator briefly mentioned that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) approved three gaming related rules at their May meeting. The rules included both Phase I and Phase II rules of sports wagering and Rule 340 for video gaming regarding the transfer of ownership interests in a Terminal Operator. If you have any questions on these, please let us know.
The first speaker to address the Board was Anita Bedell, Executive Director of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Additional Problems. Ms. Bedell addressed the Board with a number of concerns including the new Executive Order (EO) that no longer requires in-person registration for sports wagering accounts during the duration of the Governor’s disaster proclamations. Ms. Bedell was particularly concerned that this EO would allow underage individuals or those currently on casino self-exclusion lists to engage in gambling. She also felt that the proposed reopening policies put too much trust in gaming companies and she hoped that the IGB has hired or trained additional staff to assist in the reopening process.
The next speaker to address the Board was Ms. Kelly Graffe on behalf of K&J Investment Management Group, Inc. d/b/a Eggsperience. Ms. Graffe addressed the Board with her concerns regarding her pending location application. Ms. Graffe stated that her application has been pending for over two years despite her compliance with information requests. She also asked for an explanation for the delay and wished to know the status of her application. The Chairman stated they were not prepared to respond, but thanked Ms. Graffe for her comments.
The Board next presented a resolution based on the Disaster Proclamation of COVID-19 whereby staff can take all “reasonable” action to enforce the Illinois Gambling Act, the Video Gaming Act and the Sports Wagering Act ( The Acts). The resolution states that for the duration of the Proclamation and 60 days thereafter, the staff is given authority to file emergency rules, renew licenses under all Acts for all people already licensed, issue licenses listed under Section 7(e) and Rule 222(e) of the Illinois Gambling Act, approve the surrender of licenses, issue notices of denial to those that have a criminal history that precludes licensing, issue disciplinary complaints, grant or deny requests to reapply and settle hearings.
The Casino meeting began with the Board approving Elgin Riverboat Resort’s d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino request for initial consideration and waiver of the two meeting rule to approve land-based gambling operations at Grand Victoria Casino.
Next, the Board approved Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation’s d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino request for initial consideration, waiver of two meeting rule and final consideration of its owner’s license renewal. The Board also waived the two meeting rule and approved Boyd Gaming Corporation’s financing transaction.
The Board approved the request for leave to amend the owner’s license application of Lakeside Casino LLC.
Next, the Board approved the following Key Persons or Level 1 Occupational licensees related to owner’s licensees:
- John Birchfield as a Key Person Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino for his role as Senior Regional Director of Information Technology of Midwest Eldorado Resorts, Inc.;
- Peter Broughton as a Key Person Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino for his role as Senior Vice President of Information Technology Eldorado Resorts, Inc.;
- Brett Yunker as a Key Person Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino for his role as Chief Financial Officer of Eldorado Resorts, Inc,;
- Steven D. Harms as Internal Auditor for Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino; and
- David Lee Clark as Information Technology Manager of Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino.
The meeting continued with Supplier Licensee items and the approval of:
- The four-year license renewal of Genesis Gaming Solutions, Inc.;
- Samuel Levy as a Key Person for Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. and Ainsworth Game Technology, Inc. for his role as Chief Executive Officer;
- Hector Fernandez as a Key Person for Aristocrat Technologies, Inc. for his role as President/Director;
- Daniel Gawel as a Key Person for SuzoHapp Gaming Solutions, LLC for his role as Executive Vice President/COO; and
- The request to surrender the license of Micro Gaming Technologies, Inc.
Notably, the Board did not approve any Level 2 or Level 3 occupational licensees. It did however, approve the renewal of the occupational licensees that 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.
This concluded the Casino portion of the meeting.
The Sports Wagering session began with the Board issuing four-year Master Sports Wagering Licenses to the following entities which previously held temporary permits:
- Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino;
- HC Aurora, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Aurora;
- HC Joliet, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Joliet;
- Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Casino Queen, Inc.; and
- Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino.
Next, the Board issued Level 1 Occupational licenses to the following individuals:
- Sherri Bruno as Director of Finance for Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Marvin Javier as IT Manager of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Patrick Murray as Internal Audit Manager of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Donald Retzlaff as Director of Casino Operations of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Jeffrey Smith as Surveillance Manager of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Jeffrey Warr as Security Manager of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Steven Peate as General Manager of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton;
- Jason Grover as IT Director of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino;
- John Budnyk as Director of Surveillance of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Gregory Carlin as Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Travis Clarke as Director of Security of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Michael Johnson as Internal Auditor of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Eric Jokisch as Internal Audit Manager of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Floyd Rosamond as Director of IT o Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Joshua San Salvador as Assistant General Manager of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Jillian Wilcox as Vice President of Finance of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines;
- Corey Wise as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines.
The Video Gaming session began with the Board approving the initial distributor and supplier licenses for RDK Distribution, LLC and MobileMoney, Inc., respectively.
Next, the Board approved the license renewals of Patriot Gaming & Electronics, Inc. (February), Suzohapp Gaming Solutions, LLC, Curo Group, LLC, and NRT Technology Corp.
The meeting then continued with the Board granting a number of terminal operator license renewals to the following:
- Royal Entertainment LLC(January);
- American Video Gaming, LLC (February);
- Awesome Hand Services, LLC (February);
- Lattner Entertainment Group Illinois, LLC (February);
- Renville Gaming, LLC (February);
- Skyhigh Gaming, LLC (February);
- Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC (March);
- Ashiq Gaming, LLC (March);
- B&B Amusement of Illinois, LLC (March);
- Compact Disc Amusements, Limited (March);
- Dragonfly Gaming, Inc. (March);
- Eureka Entertainment, LLC (March);
- Fair Share Gaming, LLC (March);
- Laurel Gaming, LLC (March);
- Leisure Time Gaming & Amusements, Inc. (March);
- Mississippi Gaming and Amusements, LLC (March);
- WAMI Gaming, LLC (March);
- Da Route LLC (April);
- Gaming & Entertainment Management – Illinois LLC (April);
- Great Lakes Vending, Corporation (April);
- Illinois Operators, Inc. (April);
- Lucky Day LLC (April);
- Midwest Electronics Gaming, LLC (April);
- Sinbad’s Castle Arcade, Ltd. (April);
- T’s Gaming LLC (April);
- Top Notch Entertainment, LLC (April);
- Velasquez Gaming, LLC (April);
- G3 Gaming, LLC (May);
- Hyperactive Gaming, LLC (May);
- Illinois Gaming Investors LLC (May);
- Skybox Gaming Group, LLC (May);
- AP Gaming LLC (June);
- Arktyk Gaming Solutions LLC (June);
- Golden Route Operations-Illinois LLC (June); and
- Lucky Street Gaming LLC (June).
The terminal handler, technician and location licensees who provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees and complied with all other requirements were also renewed.
The meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to 58 terminal handlers and 168 video gaming locations. There were no denials of handlers, technicians or locations.
The Board received three requests for a hearing this month and took the following actions:
- Granted the request of Lakeview Gaming, LLC;
- Denied the hearing request as moot, rescinded the original denial and granted the location license of Sofies Whiskey and Wine, LLC d/b/a Sofie’s Whiskey & Wine; and
- Granted the request of Tinley Beef LLC d/b/a Pops Italian Beef.
The IGB approved the requests to reapply of ABE Inc. d/b/a The Station, Live Star Banquet Hall, Inc. d/b/a Live Star Banquet Hall, Inc., Bridgeview Memorial AmVets Post #192 d/b/a Bridgeview Memorial AMVETS Post 192, Grinner’s Place LLC d/b/a Grinner’s Place, A & S Enterprises of Illinois, LLC d/b/a Pundrake, and Breeze Gaming Inc. d/b/a Breeze Gaming.