The Illinois Gaming Board held its monthly meeting on Thursday, September 14, 2023. The meeting was hybrid with in-person accessibility at 160 N. LaSalle St., Fifth Floor Auditorium and via livestream. Board members present at this meeting included Chairman Schmadeke, Member Hayden, Member Garcia and Member Kolar.
The open meeting session began with the approval of the minutes from the regular board meeting on Thursday, July 27, 2023 and continued with the Administrator’s brief comments as there were no comments from board members.
Administrator Fruchter began his comments by stating that the last few months have been very busy at the IGB. Three new casinos opened (Danville, Walker’s Bluff and Bally’s Chicago). In addition, a new sports book opened at Harrah’s Metropolis. Including Rockford and Waukegan, five of the six casinos authorized in 2019 have opened, the Administrator said. He said that he anticipates the Wind Creek Casino will open in at some point in 2024. He thanked the staff for all of their hard work in making all of this happen.
The Administrator then reminded those in video gaming to adhere to Rule 350 regarding improper inducements. Rule 350 states that a Terminal Operator (TO) can only provide marketing to a location if the cost is split equally. He urged compliance with the Rule. If you have any questions on what is permitted, please reach out to us.
The Administrator then reported the revenue numbers for July:
- The 8,404 video gaming locations having approximately 46,529 VGTs produced total revenue of $234 million - $79 million in total taxes (approx. $67 million to the state and $11 million to local municipalities).
- Total Casino AGR (for August) was $124 million with $37 million in total taxes ($30 million to the state and $7 million to local governments).
- Sports Wagering in June had a total handle of $668 million for a total AGR of $54 million ($8 million in taxes to the state and $661,000 to Cook County)
Mr. Fruchter then went on to explain that IGB is hopeful for legislation to pass in the Fall Session regarding clearly prohibiting the illegal and unregulated gambling devices that are proliferating in the state, commonly referred to as sweepstakes machines.
The Administrator reminded the audience that September is Responsible Gaming Education month and urged stakeholders to continue all efforts in this regard. Specifically, new Rule 1800.1750 charges video gaming terminal operators/locations to have responsible gaming signage. This is similar to what is already required of casinos.
Finally on a very sad note, the Administrator took a moment to remember Tom Swoik who recently passed away. Tom was a long-time IGB staff member and went on to be the Executive Director of the Casino Association. He was a great guy and will be missed.
On August 11, 2023, the Governor signed a new law (SB 1642) that amended the Illinois Gaming Act. It creates separate licensing criteria for gaming and non-gaming positions. In particular, the law permits individuals with certain types of felony convictions to apply for non-gaming positions. In making these types of licensing decisions the IGB will consider the length of time since a conviction, the number of convictions, the nature of the conviction and any evidence of rehabilitation. Because the new law is not effective until January 1, 2024, this temporary badge process will enable this new group of potential applicants to apply now and potentially begin working.
The casino portion of this meeting began with the Request for Initial Consideration of Owners License Renewal of Alton Casino, LLC d/b/a Argosy Casino Alton, and that matter will be continued to the October IGB meeting. The IGB approved the Owners License Renewal of Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel.
Next, the board approved the following Key Persons:
- Maya Broussard of FHR-Illinois, LLC d/b/a American Place
- Stephanie Lepori for her role as Chief Administrative Officer of Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership d/b/a Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel,Southern Illinois Riverboat/Casino Cruises LLC d/b/a Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel,and Elgin Riverboat Resort d/b/a Grand Victoria Casino
- Michelle Rasmusson for her role as Vice President of Regulatory Compliance and Chief Compliance Officer for Par-A-Dice Gaming Corporation.
The Board then issued an initial supplier license to Seminole Hard Rock Support Services, LLC and TCS John Huxley America Inc.
The Board also issued Level 1 Occupational licenses to the following 11 individuals:
- Wendy Alsteen for her role as Vice President of Finance for 815 Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Casino Rockford
- Jeffery Babinski for his role as Vice President and General Manager of FHR-Illinois, LLC d/b/a American Place
- Roy Bethge for his role as Director of Security of 815 Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Casino Rockford
- James Dallas for his role as Table Games Manager of Walker’s Bluff Casino Resort
- Robert DeWitt-Barber for his role as Internal Audit Manager for Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino-Des Plaines
- Timothy Drekhoff for his role as CEO of Operations of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Rivers Casino- Des Plaines
- Anthony Fabre for his role as Gaming Operations Manager for 815 Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Casino Rockford
- Chelsey Hughes as Director of Table Games & Sportsbook for FHR-Illinois, LLC d/b/a American Place
- Michael Johnson for his role as Internal Auditor for FHR-Illinois, LLC d/b/a American Place
- William Maloney for his role as Vice President of Surveillance for Fairmount Park, Inc. d/b/a Fairmount Park
- Christopher Weinrich as Senior Internal Auditor for The Rock Island Boatworks, LLC d/b/a Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel.
The meeting continued with the approval of level 2 and 3 occupational licenses.
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.
The brief Sports Wagering section of the meeting began with the Board approving Hecham Ghazal as a Key Person for Penn Sports Interactive, LLC (a Management Services Provider) for his role as Chief Technology Officer and continued with the approval of Joseph Asher of IGT for his role as President of Sports Betting.
The board then granted Level 2 and Level 3 occupational licenses. The Administrator next 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 Video Gaming meeting began with consideration of a number of outstanding initial terminal operators license applicants:
- 4K Diamond Enterprises LLC was granted an initial terminal operator’s license
- Amazing Video Slots, LLC was denied an initial terminal operator’s license
- Chapman Music Company, Inc. was denied an initial terminal operator’s license
- Double Star Amusement, LLC was granted an initial terminal operator’s license
- Gluck, LLC was granted an initial terminal operator’s license
- GU ILCO LLC was denied an initial terminal operator’s license
- King Gaming, Inc. was denied an initial terminal operator’s license
- Pass Time, LLC was granted an initial terminal operator’s license
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 the IGB approving 99 locations and denying a total of four locations, of which two were statutory denials:
- Cairo Cutmart, Inc. d/b/a Drive Thru 51
- Hampshire Social LLC d/b/a Hampshire Social
- Dremoes Bar & Grill LLC d/b/a Dremoes Bar & Grill LLC
- Granny’s Diner of Johnsburg, Inc. d/b/a Granny’s Diner of Johnsburg Inc.
The meeting concluded with the board denying Sams Ristorante & Pizzeria LLC d/b/a Sam’s Ristorante & Pizzeria a hearing request on its denial stating the applicant had failed to state a prima facie case.