Illinois Video Gambling Owners Will Need State Approval to Sell Business

  • Sudden unanimous decision from Illinois Gaming Board in favor of rule change
  • Legislative loophole allowed owners to sell business without alerting authorities for three weeks
  • Amendment follows controversy over major video gambling firm owner's alleged crime links
dictionary entry showing definition of the word loophole
The Illinois Gaming Board has agreed on a rule change which will see video gambling business owners having to alert the state regulator before selling their operation. [Image:]

Regulator to approve business sales

The Illinois Gaming Board announced on Thursday that owners of video gambling companies can no longer sell their businesses without approval from the state regulator. 

The authorities want to stop any company that is under investigation from being able to make a profit by selling off the business before it receives disciplinary action. 

companies can no longer sell their businesses without approval from the state regulator

The emergency decision came following a unanimous vote from the gaming board. Before this new rule can come into force, the change will have to be filed with the office of the Secretary of State in Illinois. Joe Miller, a spokesperson for the board, did not announce when this might happen. 

Eliminating a legislative loophole

The rule change eliminates a loophole in the video gambling regulation. The loophole allowed a video gambling firm owner to sell the business and only have to report this transaction to the state regulator up to three weeks later. According to the gaming board’s legal counsel, Dan Gerber, this undermined the integrity of the regulator’s ability to conduct oversight. 

Gerber added:

The urgency of the situation is magnified by recent news reports of alleged past questionable practices and potential illegal activity.”

Allegations relating to one operator

In October, allegations arose off the back of a Chicago Tribune report that one of the biggest operators in Illinois for video gambling, Rick Heidner, had links with crime figures

In September, the Illinois Racing Board gave Heidner its provisional approval for developing a race track, with the possibility of developing a casino on the site down the line. However, Governor JB Pritzker blocked the sale of the land for this project as a result of Heidner’s alleged criminal ties. 

Under state law, the regulators are not able to speak about specific cases. They did, however, note that the video gambling license that Heidner holds got approval from a previous gaming board back in 2012, when none of the current members were on the board. Heidner’s video gambling license expires in February and requires a yearly renewal. There is no indication that Heidner is planning to sell his video gambling business according to his spokesman, Randall Samborn.

While Heidner claims he made clear his ties with certain criminal figures when applying for a video gambling license in 2012, none of the board members say they were informed of this. One former board member said that if they had known, the issuance of a license “would have been a definite no”.

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