The Illinois Gaming Board held its webinar-based special meeting on October 29, 2020. The primary purpose of the meeting was to address the pending casino applications. Members present included Chairman Schmadeke, Member Ramirez, Member Hayden and Member Garcia.
The Chairman addressed the comments about the need to “quickly” award the additional casino gaming licenses as provided in the 2019 legislation. While the Chairman acknowledged that he understands the needs of the various communities, the IGB will not award licenses until it has completed its background investigation to ensure suitability of all entities and persons. He thanked staff for all of their hard work on these new applications.
Administrator Fruchter had three comments. He began by saying that COVID-19 cases are again on the increase and encouraged all licensees to remain vigilant in their compliance and safety measures. He reminded the industry that failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including license revocation.
Next, the Administrator followed up on comments made by the Chairman regarding the new casino applications. Mr. Fruchter reiterated that the IGB will not issue preliminary findings of suitability until the investigations are completed. He said all applicants are working with staff in that regard. In accord with the statute, Mr. Fruchter said that each applicant has received a written explanation as to the reasons for the delay. He informed the industry that in Rockford and Williamson County—where there is only one applicant for the license—IGB anticipates making a determination on those applications within six months. In Waukegan and the South Suburbs—where there are multiple applicants—IGB will be doing an RFP to hire an investment banker to assist in the review of applications. Mr. Fruchter said the timeline for those decisions will be within six months after an investment banker is hired.
Finally, the Administrator reminded everyone that next month’s meeting is now scheduled for November 17 at 10 a.m.
There was only one public speaker during the public commentary section: Anita Bedell, Executive Director of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems. Ms. Bedell thanked the IGB for taking whatever time it needs to investigate applicants for casino licenses. She said that while the initial license fees are minimal, casinos are being sold for millions of dollars and we need to ensure the integrity of the industry.
The Casino meeting began with the Board reviewing and approving the following requests to Amend Owners License Applications:
- 815 Entertainment, LLC dba Hard Rock Casino Rockford (Rockford License)
- CDI-RSG Waukegan, LLC dba Rivers Waukegan Casino (Waukegan License)
- Full House Resorts, Inc., dba American Place (Waukegan License)
- Lakeside Casino, LLC dba North Point Casino (Waukegan License)
- Southland LIVE, LLC dba Southland Live (S. Suburban License)
- South Suburban Development, LLC (S. Suburban License)
- Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort, LLC (Williamson Co License
- Wind Creek, LLC (S. Suburban License)
Next the IGB approved the Transfer of Ownership in Casino Queen, Inc. dba DraftKings at Casino Queen from the ESOP. In conjunction with transfer, the following new Key Persons and Entities were also approved: Soohyung Kim; SG CQ Blocker LLC; SG CQ Gaming LLC; Standard General L.P., P Standard General Ltd., Standard General Master Fund L.P.; and Standard General Master Fund II L.P.
Finally, the IGB found Fairmount Park, Inc. preliminarily suitable for an organizational gaming license.
The IGB approved a master wagering license for Fairmount Park, Inc.
The meeting was then adjourned. The next IGB meeting is scheduled for November 17, 2020.