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 held its virtual monthly meeting on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Before we provide our summary of the meeting, we wanted to remind licensees that it is still illegal for locations to permit illegal gambling activities on their premises, including activities (such as brackets) related to March Madness.
Board members present at the March meeting included Chairman Schmadeke, Member Hayden, Member Garcia and Member Bell.
The meeting began with the approval of the regular board meeting minutes from January 27, 2022 and continued with the Administrator’s report. There were no board member comments.
The Administrator began by acknowledging that March is National Problem Gambling Month. He spoke briefly about the IGB’s dedication to maintain the safety of Illinois residents and provided a number of resources available to individuals. Helpful resources can be found on both the IGB’s website (Illinois Gaming Board - Help for Problem Gamblers) and Illinois Department of Human Services’ website (IDHS: Gambling Help (state.il.us). He stated that to further show support and advocate for individuals with problem gambling, a number of downtown Chicago buildings will be lit in teal this month.
Administrator Fruchter next spoke briefly about the war in Ukraine. Specifically, Administrator Fruchter stated that under Sports Wagering Rules, specifically Rule 1130, the IGB may prohibit wagering on certain types of events for a variety of reasons. In this light, the Administrator stated that the IGB will prohibit wagering on events held in Russia and/or Belarus, teams or individuals of Russia and/or Belarus, and events sponsored or sanctioned by the governments or officials of Russia and Belarus. The written request to prohibit these types of wagers is available on the IGB’s website and open for public commentary. The notice can be found here: Rule1130RequestAndTemp.Suspension - Russia and Belarus (2022.03.08).pdf (illinois.gov). This prohibition will be effective as of 5 pm, Thursday March 10, 2022, and continue until the prohibition is removed. Chairman Schmadeke commended the Administrator for his leadership regarding this proposed prohibition.
The Administrator continued his comments and spoke about two amendments to the Sports Wagering Rules that have recently taken effect. The first is that in-person registration for sports wagering is no longer required. You can now register in-person, online or via mobile apps. The second amendment is that Illinois collegiate events are now available for wagering, through a two -year pilot program, as long as the wagers meet the following three requirements:
- The wager is a Tier 1 bet (including pre-game)
- The wager is not based on an individual’s performance
- The wager is made in person
Finally, the Administrator also provided his revenue report. He stated that currently there are 42,476 live VGTs in 7,910 licensed locations across the State. He also provided his monthly summary of taxable revenue generated by the gaming industry. In total, the gaming activities in January generated approximately $76M in tax revenue for the state and $14M in taxes for local host communities.
During the Public Commentary section, James P. Murphy, of Clark Hill PLC, addressed the Board as he did last month. Mr. Murphy wanted to know what criteria the IGB uses to begin investigations into terminal operator licensees when allegations of inducements or rule violations are provided. He alleged that he knew the IGB had received personal or direct accounts of such allegations and, in some cases, written/documented evidence but IGB appears not to have begun investigating the claims. He asked the Board what licensees could provide to ensure that such serious allegations be investigated.
After Mr. Murphy spoke, the Administrator stated that the Board does not comment on potential or ongoing investigations. Further, if an individual has concerns or knowledge related to rule violations or potential violations, such individuals should contact the IGB, including through its confidential website, to provide details. He also stated that the IGB always welcomes comments or notice related to potential violations. He stated that the more specific information/documentation that can be provided, the better.
The Board began the casino portion of the meeting with a presentation by Danville Development, LLC (the proposed Danville casino applicant) and approved the finding of preliminary suitability for an owner’s license application.
Next, the Board approved the Level 1 occupational licenses of 1) Mark Francis Ahlden for his role as senior internal auditor of Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation d/b/a Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino, 2) Shelly Jean Henson for her role as senior internal auditor for The Rock Island Boatworks, LLC d/b/a Bally's Quad Cities Casino & Hotel, and 3) Mark Allen Johnson for his role of Director of Slot Operations for 815 Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Casino Rockford.
Finally, the Administrator approved 79 Level 2 and 84 Level 3 occupational licensees and issued renewals to those occupational licensees that were up for renewal and had provided updated information, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements. The Administrator also approved the renewals of Patriot Gaming & Electronics, Inc. andSUZOHAPP Gaming Solutions, LLC four a period of four years.
The Sports Wagering section of the meeting began with the Board approving the initial supplier licenses of Swish Analytics Illinois Inc. and United Tote Company.
Next, the Administrator approved 188 Level 2 and 43 Level 3 occupational licensees, and granted renewals to the Level 1, 2, and 3 licensees that were up for renewal and had provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements.
The Administrator began the Video Gaming session by reiterating that the licenses for establishments, handlers and technicians now have a term of two years, while suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and terminal operator licenses now have a term of four years and that although new license terms would begin today, annual fees are still due. He also reminded licensees that, due to technical difficulties including auto-generated notices and programming and system enhancements, licensees may receive letters or notices with one-year expiration dates, adding that IGB will be providing updates on the Sci Games portal and to please make note of any discrepancies.
Following his comments, the Administrator renewed the respective manufacturer, supplier or terminal operator licenses of the following entities for a period of four years:
- Patriot Gaming & Electronic, Inc.
- SUZOHAPP Gaming Solutions, LLC
- Awesome Hand Services, LLC d/b/a Awesome Hand Gaming
- Gold Rush Amusements, Inc. d/b/a Gold Rush Gaming
- Lattner Entertainment Group Illinois, LLC
- Renville Gaming, LLC
- Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC
- Ashiq Gaming, LLC d/b/a Blackjack Gaming
- B&B Amusement of Illinois, LLC
- Compact Disc Amusements, Limited d/b/a Aces Video Gaming
- Dragonfly Gaming, Inc.
- Eureka Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Universal Gaming Group
- Fair Share Gaming, LLC
- Laurel Gaming, LLC
- Mississippi Gaming and Amusements, LLC
- WAMI Gaming, LLC
Next, he renewed the terminal hander, technician and location licensees that were up for renewal and had provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees and complied with all other requirements. The following two locations were issued a notice of nonrenewal:
- Frye Daddy’s Inc. d/b/a Hogs and Dogs Saloon
- Martin & Bayley Inc. d/b/a Huck’s Convenience Store #197
The meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to 68 terminal handlers and 79 video gaming locations.
The Board next denied the applications of the following seven locations, including two denied for statutory ineligibility:
- 101 South Commercial, LLC d/b/a Kay’s Place (210702516)
- A.A.A. M & V, Inc. d/b/a Lucky 777’s Slots & Video Poker Lounge
- Gotti Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Gotti’s Cucina
- Main Street Slots, LLC d/b/a Main Street Slots
- RWBC Inc. d/b/a Main Street Pour House
- Sarah-AAFKE, LLC d/b/a Sarahs Place
- BBQ Chicken Spring Grove, Inc. d/b/a BBQ Chicken
The Board then heard two requests for hearings. The first was from Primal Matter Inc. d/b/a Springers Bar N Grill and the second was filed by Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC. The Board voted to deny the hearing requests as both requests allegedly failed to show prima facie cases.
The Board next discussed the following 11 Rule 320 Petitions:
- 18 UP 06
- 18 UP 07
- 18 UP 08
- 18 UP 011
- 18 UP 012
- 18 UP 013
- 18 UP 014
- 18 UP 016
- 18 UP 025
- 18 UP 031
- 19 UP 23
In all cases, the Board voted to adopt the ALJ’s recommendation as a final board order and stated that the use agreements at issue imposed obstacles and undue burdens on locations terminating the use agreement(s). The final Board orders in Rule 320 Petitions will be available on the IGB’s website, Illinois Gaming Board - Video Rule 320 Petitions.
The Video Gaming Session then concluded with the Board issuing a notice of disassociation to Gold Rush Amusements, Inc. d/b/a Gold Rush Gaming from Arlington Management Group LLC and its related parties due to allegations of prohibitive convictions.
The meeting concluded with the Board tabling the matter of 20 GB 0001 in re: Denial of Terrance Patrick Maloney.