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 IGB held its webinar-based monthly meeting on June 9, 2021. Members present included Member Garcia, Member Hayden and Chairman Schmadeke. The meeting began with the approval of the April meeting minutes.
Neither the Chairman nor the Board Members had any opening comments.
The Administrator opened his comments by noting that the state will be in Phase 5 on June 11. The Administrator said businesses can offer a free drink to individuals who are vaccinated from June 11 to July 20, 2021, but that locations must comply with requirements. If you would like more information on Phase 5 and what it means for businesses, you can visit the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response page.
The Administrator then spoke about the Illinois legislative session. In particular, items involving the IGB include synchronized renewal due dates (including four-year renewals for video gaming terminal operators), licensure for sales agents and brokers, and the criminalization of sweepstakes machines. While these matters have passed the House, the Senate did not address them prior to adjourning.
Next the Administrator provided a brief update on the new casino applications:
- The initial application for the Danville casino was withdrawn and a new application was submitted on November 23, 2020;
- The applicant for the Rockford license, 815 Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Casino Rockford, received preliminary suitability on February 4, 2021, and there will be additional individuals considered today;
- The Waukegan and South Suburban applications remain under review. The IGB’s Request For Proposal (RFP) for an investment banker was awarded on May 26, 2021 to Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC and is currently in the contract evaluation process. It is expected to be under contract in June with a decision being made within six months, so hopefully by December; and
- Regarding a Chicago casino, there is no pending application before the Board at this time.
The Administrator then stated that the IGB is assessing agency operations to ensure that current and future operations are consistent and transparent. In that regard and to provide for consistency in decision-making the Administrator said they would like input from the industry on a declaratory judgment rule. A specific email address for comments regarding this topic has been established (firstname.lastname@example.org) and comments should be filed by August 31, 2021. The IGB is also considering revisions to casino rules 3000.600 – 671 and seeks comments as well.
Lastly, the Administrator provided his revenue report. According to the Administrator’s report, the State has received approximately $6.5M in tax revenue from sports wagering activity as of April. The Administrator then stated there are 39,662 live video gaming terminals (VGTs) in 7,591 licensed locations.
In summary, the Administrator said that the combined gaming industries (video gaming, sports wagering and casino) have brought in approximately $282.5 million in taxes to the State and approximately $54 million in tax revenue to localities between January 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021.
The Board next heard the Request for Final Consideration of Transfer of Ownership of The Rock Island Boatworks, Inc. d/b/a Jumers Casino & Hotel. The Bally Corporation team, potential buyer, addressed the Board and made a presentation. The Board approved the ownership transfer.
The Board next heard considerations for the finding of preliminary suitability for the owner’s license application of Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort, LLC (Williamson County casino applicant). The Applicant then addressed the Board and made a presentation. The Board granted preliminary suitability to Walker’s Bluff. It should be noted that the Board moved to go into closed session to discuss the Jumers Casino & Hotel and Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort matters.
Upon resuming the open session, the Board heard the Request for Initial Consideration of Owners License Renewal presentation of Casino Queen, Inc. d/b/a DraftKings at Casino Queen as well as the Request for Initial Consideration of Transfer of Ownership of Casino Queen, Inc. d/b/a DraftKings at Casino Queen. These matters will be considered at a subsequent meeting.
Next the following Key Persons and Level 1 applicants were approved:
- Christopher Schneider for his role with HC Joliet, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Joliet as Director of Casino Operations;
- Michael Younie for his role with HC Aurora, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Aurora as Security Manager;
- William Michael Reeg for his role with Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel as Regional President and General Manager;
- Rafael R. Verde for his role with Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton as Senior Vice President of Operations for Penn National Gaming, Inc.
- The following individuals, business entities, or trusts related to 815 Entertainment, LLC (the Waukegan Applicant):
- Gretchen Bastuga;
- Charles Box;
- Sophia Bross;
- Julia Costello;
- William Cunningham;
- Christopher Dandrow;
- Mary Dunleavy;
- Ronald Engesether;
- Jason Frank;
- Marc Jacobson;
- Brent Johnson;
- Hugh Jones IV;
- Rachel Kenyon;
- William Knicker;
- Justin Kwak;
- Jason Lichtman;
- John Lichty;
- Matthew Murphy;
- Karen Nielsen;
- Jan Ohlander;
- Sunil Puri;
- Lauren Rabb;
- Andrew Roiniotis;
- Jason Rolence;
- Arthur Rone;
- Debra Sasse;
- Beth Satterfield;
- Dawn Shanine;
- George Donald Shanine;
- George Noel Shanine;
- Sydney Shanine;
- Todd Shaw;
- Suzanne Velasquez-Sheehy;
- Jessica Theisen;
- Renee Togher;
- Arthur Velasquez;
- Laine Warner;
- William Warner;
- Brent Wilde;
- James Wilde;
- Joshua Wilde;
- Jennifer Yilk;
- Nannette Zander;
- Clearwater Property Investments, LLC;
- RCI Investments LLC;
- VCI Partners, LLC;
- Brent B. Johnson Trust dated March 24, 1997;
- Dawn M. Shanine Irrevocable Trust;
- Gretchen Bastuga Revocable Trust;
- The Bill Warner 2019 GST Exempt Trust; and
- The James W. Wilde Revocable Trust Agreement.
The Request for Initial Consideration of Transfer of Ownership of Fairmount Park, Inc. d/b/a FanDuel Sportsbook and Racetrack was heard in conjunction with the Casino Queen request and these matters will be taken under consideration at a subsequent meeting.
The Board then approved:
- the supplier license of (815) Beltway Holdings, LLC and its key persons Daniel Fischer and Miles Bretsch
- Adam Jerusalim, key person of NRT Technology Corp. for his role as Chief Financial Officer
- 48 Level 2 occupational licensees
- 57 Level 3 occupational licensees
- 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
The Administrator approved 198 Level 2 occupational licensees, Thomas Carey for his role as Sportsbook Manager of HC Joliet, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Joliet, and Nicholas Darryn Smith for his role as Sportsbook Manager of Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino.
Next, The Administrator issued sports wagering licenses to The Rock Island Boatworks, Inc. d/b/a Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel, and Southern Illinois Riverboat/Casino Cruises LLC d/b/a Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel, and Novamatic Americas Sales LLC.
The Video Gaming session began with the Board approving the initial terminal operator licenses of Diversity Gaming Solutions, LLC and Winner’s Depot, LLC
The Administrator then renewed the following suppliers, manufacturer, and terminal operator licenses:
- Novomatic Americas Sales LLC
- RDK Distribution LLC
- Suzohapp Gaming Solutions LLC
- Curo Group, LLC
- MobileMoney, Inc.
- NRT Technology Corp.
- G3 Gaming, LLC
- Hyperactive Gaming, LLC
- Illinois Gaming Investors LLC
- Skybox Gaming Group, LLC
- AP Gaming LLC
- Arktyk Gaming Solutions LLC
- Golden Route Operations -Illinois LLC
- Lucky Street Gaming LLC
Next, the terminal hander, technician, and location licensees which were up for renewal and provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements were renewed.
Four locations were issued notices of nonrenewal:
- H’s Bar LLC
- Jack Russell Fish Company, LLC
- Main Street Pub & Grill
- CJ’s Gaming, LLC
The meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to 68 terminal handlers and one hundred three (103) video gaming locations, including SNA Restaurant Group Inc d/b/a Sebastian’s Ale and Whiskey House and Illinois Department of Agriculture.
The Board next denied the license applications of the following five locations, including for statutory ineligibility:
- El Paisa Alegre Restaurant, Inc.
- El Primo Mexican Restaurant #3, Corp.
- Dawg Pound Gentlemen’s Club LLC
- James Shelton d/b/a Silver Moon
- James Shelton d/b/a Jimbo’s
The Board received eight requests for a hearing this month.
- The Board voted to rescind the denial, grant a location license, and grant leave to withdrawal the hearing request of Acees Inc. d/b/a Acees Food and Fuel.
- The Board voted to rescind the denial, grant a location license, and grant leave to withdrawal the hearing request of West Town Fuel Inc.
- The Board voted to rescind the denial, grant a location license, and grant leave to withdrawal the hearing request of Grinner’s Place LLC d/b/a Grinner’s Place.
- The Board voted to rescind the denial, grant a location license, and grant leave to withdrawal the hearing request of Café Roma.
- The Board voted to rescind the denial, grant a location license, and grant leave to withdrawal the hearing request of Dag Sports Inc. d/b/a Dag Sports Inc.
- The Board voted to deny the hearing request of Jakari, Inc. for allegedly failing to make prime facia case.
- The Board voted to deny the hearing request of Aloste, Inc. for allegedly failing to make prime facia case.
- The Board voted to deny the hearing request of Kellys Café 2 LLC d/b/a Kellys Café 2 LLC.
The meeting concluded with the Chairman publicly commending staff for putting this meeting together. The Administrator also took time to thank the staff, with special mention to the Assistant General Counsel, Rick Harlovic.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 14, 2021.