The IGB held its webinar-based monthly meeting on July 14, 2021. Members present included Member Ramirez, Member Hayden and Chairman Schmadeke. The meeting began with the approval of the June meeting minutes. Neither the Chairman nor the Board Members had any opening comments.
The Administrator opened his comments with the happy news that IGB is making plans for in-person meetings. He is hopeful that the next meeting on September 14, 2021 will be in person, but acknowledged that the health and safety of IGB staff members and the public is still of the utmost importance. He encouraged individuals to continue their mitigation efforts and get vaccinated.
The Administrator continued with an update on the casino license applications status. Besides the approvals from last month’s meeting, there was limited newinformation. The Administrator stated that the investigation process for Waukegan and South Suburban applicants is ongoing and that the investment banker contract has been finalized.
Next, the Administrator addressed the current national coin shortage. He stated that there will be an emergency rule, similar to the coin shortage emergency rule issued last July. The rule will be issued in the next seven to 14 days. He also stated that they expect to have a permanent rule presented at the September 2021 meeting which would avoid the need for any future emergency rulemaking.
The Administrator reminded interested parties that the IGB is currently assessing agency operations to ensure that current and future operations are consistent and transparent. To assist with those efforts, there are two topics in which the IGB is requesting public comment:
Public comments are due, electronically, by August 31, 2021 to the email address: IGB.DirectorOfPolicy@illinois.gov.
Lastly, the Administrator provided his revenue report. The Administrator stated there are 40,181 live video gaming terminals (VGTs) in 7,659 licensed locations across the State. In May, these VGTs generated approximately $228.8 million in Net Terminal Income for the State, with total tax revenue of approximately $78 million. The State received approximately $66 million in taxes with local municipalities receiving approximately $11 million.
In summary, the Administrator said that the combined (video gaming, sports wagering and casino) gaming industry total tax revenue for January 1 through May 31, 2021 is approximately $373.5 million to the State and approximately $74 million in tax revenue to localities, for a grand total of approximately $448 million.
The meeting continued with two speakers during the public commentary section of the meeting.
Teresa Guinzy, Owner of KITT, LLC d/b/a Lucky Dogs addressed the Board and spoke about her pending establishment license which was allegedly submitted back in October of 2020. She informed the IGB that the delay was hurting her business and her ability to be competitive. The Administrator thanked Ms. Guinzy for her comments and stated that staff is working diligently to process retail establishments in accord with the rules and regulations.
Next, Anita Bedell, Executive Director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, addressed the Board with concerns over the continued absence of a self-exclusion list for video gaming. Ms. Bedell was also concerned that there was no enforcement of underage drinking and gambling. The Administrator replied to Ms. Bedell stating that this Board is just as concerned with underage gambling. He continued to say that the IGB is in compliance with laws and regulations, specifically related to the 2019 law concerning underage sting operations, and that IGB does not comment on ongoing/pending investigations. He concluded by saying the IGB follows the law and is compliant with the law.
The meeting continued with the Administrator presenting proposed new rule 1800.370, related to the deactivation of VGTs. If this sounds familiar it is because the previous administrator addressed this matter as well but did not present the rule to the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules (“JCAR”). Staff is currently working to revise the previous proposed rule to better achieve flexibility and conserve resources for IGB staff. Under this proposed rule, the IGB would have authority to deactivate machines under limited circumstances (such as expiration of a liquor license) and reactivate machines after proof of compliance and payment of $150 VGT reactivation fee per machine.
The Board began the Casino portion of the meeting with the final approval of the Owners License Renewal for Casino Queen, Inc. d/b/a DraftKings at Casino Queen.
The Board next approved Standard General Focus Fund L.P., as an Institutional Investor Casino Queen, Inc.
There was also a number of Key Person approvals. The following Key Persons are associated with the Rockford casino Applicant, 815 Entertainment, LLC:
The following Key Persons are associated with the Hawthorne Race Course, Inc.:
The following Key Persons are associated with the Fairmount Park, Inc.:
Also approved were:
The Administrator approved two Level 1 occupational licensees and 22 Level 2 occupational licensees.
Next, the Administrator approved the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 licensees that were up for renewal and provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements were renewed.
The Video Gaming session began with the Board approving the initial terminal operator licenses of DK Gaming, LLC and Maya Gaming, LLC.
The Administrator then renewed the following suppliers, manufacturer, and terminal operator licenses:
Next, the terminal hander, technician, and location licensees which were up for renewal and provided updated information to the IGB, timely paid their renewal fees, and complied with all other requirements were renewed.
Three locations were issued notices of nonrenewal:
The meeting continued with initial licenses being issued to twenty-nine (29) terminal handlers and 72 video gaming locations.
The Board denied the license applications of the following seven, including for statutory ineligibility:
The meeting continued with a new agenda item, specifically related to recissions. This category appears to be licensees that were issued notices of denials, disciplinary complaints, etc. and new or supplemental information was provided during the hearing process which results in a recommendation to rescind the denial, grant the license and allow the licensee to withdraw the hearing request. The two licensees this month are establishment licensees Oak Forest Marathon, Inc. d/b/a Oak Forest Marathon and Bella Banquets Inc d/b/a Via Bella Restaurant.
Oak Forest Marathon, Inc. was previously denied a truck stop license for allegedly missing separate diesel pumps, as is required for truck stops. However, during the hearing process, it allegedly showed plans for, and the subsequent completion of, construction to create separate diesel pumps.
Bella Banquets Inc. allegedly had an issue related to its liquor license, however, through the hearing process it provided evidence the liquor license lapse had been corrected and paid a $1,500 settlement for costs related to the investigation.
In both cases, the Board rescinded the denial, granted the appropriate licensees, and allowed withdrawal of the Hearing Requests.
Next the Board issued a final order adopting the Administrator’s decision in the Rule 320 Petition of J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC, Petitioner, (“J&J”) v. Accel Entertainment Gaming, LLC, Respondent, (“Accel”) and Action Gaming, LLC, Intervenors, (“Action”) Docket No. 17- UP-005, in which Administrator denied J&J’s petition on 18 of 22 locations in question.
The Board received one request for a hearing and two requests to reapply this month.
Like last month, the meeting concluded with the Administrator and Chairman publicly commending staff for putting this meeting together and all their hard work during this pandemic.
Please note there is no August meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for September 14, 2021 and, as noted above, it is expected to be in person. We will provide more information as it becomes available but we can’t wait to see your happy faces!