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.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you tomorrow.
On October 14, 2022, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide disaster proclamation in response to COVID-19. In response, the Illinois Gaming Board determined it is not practical or prudent, nor is it feasible, to hold an exclusively in person meeting.
As such, the IGB’s monthly meeting on Thursday, March 16, 2023 was hybrid with an in-person meeting at 160 N. LaSalle St., Fifth Floor Auditorium and access via livestream. Board members present at this meeting included Chairman Schmadeke, Member Hayden and Member Garcia.
The meeting began with the approval of the Regular Board Meeting Minutes from Thursday, February 9, 2023 and continued with the Administrator’s comments as there were no comments from Board Members.
Prior to his opening comments, Administrator Fruchter wanted to make the record clear that at 9:03 a.m. on March 16, 2023, during an open session meeting, the Board voted to go into closed session. The Administrator stated that there may have been a technological error that prevented the vote from being broadcasted but that he wanted the record to accurately reflect the vote.
The Administrator then began his comments, acknowledging that March is Problem Gambling Awareness month and that this year marks its 20th anniversary. He reiterated the IGB’s commitment to the safety of Illinois gaming. He stated that the Department of Human Services will be partnering with others to ensure that resources are readily available to individuals in need, including on-site screenings at casinos this month. He stated that downtown buildings will be lit teal in honor of these Awareness Month efforts and outlined resources, that, as always, are available on the IGB’s website ( Illinois Gaming Board - Help for Problem Gamblers). If you or anyone you know is having problems, we suggest taking advantage of these resources.
The Administrator then stated that Gov. Pritzker has selected a new IGB Board Member, Jim Kolar. Although Mr. Kolar has not been added to the IGB’s website as of this posting, the Administrator provided a brief history of Mr. Kolar’s experience as a certified public accountant.
Next, the Administrator provided a brief status update regarding the opening of the temporary site of the Waukegan casino, The Temporary by American Place. He acknowledged the huge undertaking of this project and thanked all involved, including IGB staff across all divisions and everyone at the Licensee, FHR- Illinois LLC.
The Administrator also provided a brief update regarding the pending video gaming rules regarding the vertical integration prohibition. These are the proposed video gaming rules that would limit licensees from being involved/holding licenses on various “sides” of video gaming (i.e. the owner of a location could not be a sales agent of a terminal operator, family members could no longer be TO/location owners, etc.). The Administrator stated that in addition to the JCAR public comment section of the rulemaking procedure currently available, the IGB will also be holding a public hearing to receive a broader range of comments. The date and time of the hearing has not yet been determined. We will be sure to send out the information when it becomes available as we know most of you are very interested in these proposed new rules. As stated above, the public comment period does not close until April 1, 2023. If you have any comments, please email them to us as Fox Rothschild will be submitting a comprehensive list of comments.
The Administrator then reminded applicants and licensees that checks should not be sent to the IGB’s Chicago office. Instead, the IGB prefers licensees and applicants to 1) send checks to the IGB’s Springfield office (801 South Seventh Street, Suite 400 – South, Springfield, IL 62703), 2) utilize the epay system on the IGB’s website (Login - Illinois: Illinois Gaming Board (collectorsolutions.com)), or 3) contact the IGB for wire transfer instructions.
Lastly, it is the end of an era as the Administrator said that he will no longer provide the gaming revenue numbers on a monthly basis. While he will likely continue to provide updates, perhaps on a quarterly basis, revenues will no longer be part of his monthly comments. He acknowledged that this information is available on the IGB’s website and is updated in real time as it becomes available. If you need assistance finding this, or any other information, please let us know.
During the public commentary section, Kevin McGourty briefly addressed the Board to file complaints regarding what he felt was alleged mistreatment by IGB and ISP agents.
Administrator Fruchter stated that the resolution to waive the two-meeting rule, although listed on the agenda, was being tabled.
The Casino portion of the meeting began with the Administrator providing a brief history of the licensing processes for Fairmount Park, Inc. d/b/a FanDuel Racetrack and Sportsbook (Fairmount) and Hawthorne Race, Inc. d/b/a Hawthorne Casino and Race Course (Hawthorne) and continued with both licensees providing brief presentations regarding their status. Fairmount stated that despite encountering a delay in breaking ground, it is projected to open in the fourth quarter of 2024, with its phase 1 having approximately 450 slot and table positions and its phase 2 increasing to 900 gaming positions. Hawthorne stated its commitment to honoring its racing roots while remaining excited about expansion under the Illinois Gambling Act.
Next, the Board approved the Level 1 Occupational License of Chris Williams for his role as Director of Casino Operations for HC Aurora, LLC d/b/a Hollywood Casino Aurora and continued with approving 62 Level 2 and Level 3 occupational licenses. Additionally, Administrator Fruchter took a moment to apologize to an individual who was previously denied a Level 3 occupational license, stating that updated and clarifying information had been provided prior to the denial and, therefore, it was in error that the individual was denied.
The Administrator then issued renewals to the occupational licensees that were up for renewal and had provided updated information, timely paid their renewal fees and complied with all other requirements. Lastly, one individual was denied an occupational license for statutory eligibility.
The Sports Wagering section of the meeting began with the Board approving the occupational applications of 89 Level 2 and Level 3 applicants. The Administrator then granted renewals to the Level 1, 2 and 3 licensees that were up for renewal, 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 granting initial terminal operators licenses to Diamond Gaming Systems, LLC and Great American Gaming. He also granted renewal of the terminal operator license to United Gaming Operator LLC and issued a notice of non-renewal to Elite Gaming, LLC.
Next, the Administrator renewed the terminal handler, 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 meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to 45 terminal handlers and 60 video gaming locations.
The Board then denied the applications of one terminal handler and the following seven locations, including those found allegedly statutorily ineligible:
- Evolution River Street, Inc. d/b/a Bar Evolution
- Sisco’s Sports Bar LLC d/b/a Sisco’s Sports Bar LLC
- Alimi Brothers, LLC d/b/a Village Inn Pancake House
- Backyard Partners Inc. d/b/a Linda’s Place Too
- Boozers At The Gate Liquors, LLC d/b/a Boozers At The Gate Liquors, LLC
- El Patron’s Bar, LLC d/b/a El Patron’s Bar
- Phase6 Hookah Lounge LLC d/b/a Phase6 Hookah Lounge LLC
Although Rule 320 Final Board Orders were listed on the agenda, none were presented at the meeting. Therefore, the last matter of the meeting pertained to litigation cases:
- In re: the Revocation of Timothy Adams (17 GB 039) Level 2 Occupational License
- In re: the Revocation McGee’s Bar and Grill Incorporated (21 GB 038) Licensed Establishment.
In both matters the Board voted to adopt the ALJ’s decision of revocation as final board order.
The meeting was then concluded.