As you might recall, last March, the Illinois Gaming Board (“IGB”) conducted a large scale enforcement effort targeting dozens of licensed video gaming locations, specifically looking for any and all illegal gambling activity. Multiple locations were found to be running illegal gambling events and were issued disciplinary complaints by the IGB. Such infractions resulted in hefty fines of $5,000 or the revocation of the location license.
The IGB has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards violations of the Video Gaming Act (“Act”) and the rules and regulations (“Rules”) of the IGB. Board members frequently express their strong opposition to illegal gambling and the importance of strict adherence to full compliance with the Act and Rules. Recently issued fines for illegal gambling have ranged from $10,000 to revocation of the video gaming location license. Going forward, any infractions of this type will continue to result in larger fines and/or revocation of the video gaming location license.
We anticipate that random site inspection and location audits will definitely occur during March Madness. Please ensure that your establishment is in complete and full compliance with the Act and Rules of the IGB, and other state law as well as any applicable municipal codes.
Most importantly, please ensure that no illegal gambling activity whatsoever is occurring at your establishment. Even if your establishment is not sponsoring the activity but your patrons are found to be participating, your video gaming location license will suffer the consequences. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Illegal raffles, card games where there is “money on the table,” illegal sweepstakes, squares, jar games, cards, dice, etc. Though fantasy sports wagering is not considered illegal by the IGB, provided your establishment is not participating in operation of league in any way (i.e. simply serving food and drink to group is permissible), betting on football squares or any such activity is still considered illegal gambling activity.
Keep in mind that the IGB will also be on the lookout for gambling and non-gambling violations, such as underage children in the video gaming area, permitting smoking in your establishment, serving minors, etc. The IGB will not be tolerant of any infractions, and any location found to be in violation risks substantial fines and/or having its gaming license revoked.
We strongly suggest you make your entire management team and staff aware to ensure they are cognizant of IGB’s position and your duties as holder of a privileged license.
Should you have any questions about the legality of any activity or how to stay compliant in general, please do not hesitate to contact your Relationship Manager or your attorney.
We appreciate your vigilance in protecting your most important video gaming asset: your license.