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Behind Jaffe’s latest gripe

Thursday, Jan 16, 2014

* Tribune

An obscure panel of lawmakers unexpectedly shot down video gambling reforms Tuesday, leaving regulators grasping to close loopholes in the lucrative business.

Aaron Jaffe, chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, which proposed the reforms, said he was “astounded” by the move, which came with no public discussion after a closed-door meeting by the lawmakers.

“This is an open invitation for bad people to come into gambling,” Jaffe said.

In explaining the vote, state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the Gaming Board “exceeded their authority.” Lang, who has long supported gambling expansion and who has often been at odds with Jaffe over regulation, received about $70,000 in campaign contributions tied to a Louisiana businessman who could be excluded by the reform.

First of all, this was a unanimous decision by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The committee is only “obscure” to those who know little about it. It’s also a bipartisan committee that’s co-chaired by Democratic Sen. Don Harmon and Republican Rep. Tim Schmitz. Look at the membership list for yourself and tell me everybody on there is an ally of organized crime. Please.

* Sun-Times

The Illinois Gaming Board is demanding answers about why a panel of lawmakers this week rejected a series of proposed video gambling reforms, including blacklisting some felons..

* OK, wait a second. These rules went way beyond “blacklisting some felons.”

And maybe Chairman Jaffe or the Sun-Times could’ve just picked up the phone and called a random JCAR member. I chose Rep. Greg Harris, who said committee members had a few major concerns.

The emergency rule, Harris said, would conceivably banish far too many people from working in bars, restaurants, etc. where video gaming terminals are located. A waitress with a pot conviction 30 years ago could possibly be put on the board’s “exclusion list,” Harris said. And the same goes for people who work for vendors who supply those taverns, restaurants, truck stops, etc. and for those who aren’t even convicted of anything.

Also, the Gaming Board chose to issue emergency rules, rather than go through the normal rule-making process. There were just too many questions about whether the proposed rules went further than the law allows.

* Here is the language which caused JCAR to reject Jaffe’s emergency proposals

The Administrator or Board may place a person on the Video Gaming Board Exclusion List for any of the following reasons (which parallel the reasons for placement on the existing Riverboat Gambling Exclusion List established for riverboat gambling by Subpart G of 86 Ill. Admin. Code 3000):

* Conviction in any jurisdiction of a felony, crime involving gaming, crime of moral turpitude, or crime of dishonesty. […]

* Performance of any act, or notorious or unsavory reputation, that would adversely affect public confidence and trust in gaming.

Yep. Pretty darned broad, and well beyond the rules for Riverboats, which the Gaming Board claims this proposal “parallels.”

Less yellow journalism, please.

…Adding… Wordslinger makes some excellent points in comments…

Seriously, a “black book” for video gambling? Give me a break. How do you skim the machines when they’re hooked up to a state monitor and the state collects and disburses the money?

By Jaffee’s logic, shouldn’t you have a “black book” for every business that has a lottery machine?

Just like the lottery put the illegal Policy Wheel games out of business, legal video gambling will put illegal video gambling out of business. So who’s shilling for whom here?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - walker - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Boy, the Tribbies can sure make the ordinary rule-making review process sound horrible, without trying to ascertain the facts.

    Jaffe, IMO, has often been off-base. To disagree with him should not conjure great visions of dastardliness.


  2. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Why would the Trib and S-T actually bother doing their homework? It cuts into the overall amount of “content production.”


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    That’s some cringe-worth writing and editing from the Tribbies. I’m sure their regular government reporters are honked off.

    Seriously, a “black book” for video gambling? Give me a break. How do you skim the machines when they’re hooked up to a state monitor and the state collects and disburses the money?

    By Jaffee’s logic, shouldn’t you have a “black book” for every business that has a lottery machine?

    Just like the lottery put the illegal Policy Wheel games out of business, legal video gambling will put illegal video gambling out of business. So who’s shilling from whom here?


  4. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    First of all, I’m not sure it’s a good idea for the Gaming Board to be “demanding” answers from JCAR. Second, JCAR has been around for a long time. It’s not some secret closed door process. JCAR meetings are posted like any other meeting.


  5. - 6-4-3 - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    It’s crazy how some state agencies abuse the emergency rulemaking process.


  6. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    = I’m sure their regular government reporters are honked off. =

    This guy has been covering state government for the better part of a decade.

    “The committee is only “obscure” to those who know little about it.”

    Yikes, man.


  7. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==It’s crazy how some state agencies abuse the emergency rulemaking process.==

    Emergency rules are only done when something cannot wait for the regular rulemaking process to play out. Emergency rules have to be replaced with permanent rules. It’s not a conspiracy and JCAR won’t allow them if they are being abused.


  8. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    === So who’s shilling from whom here? ===

    === Lang, who has long supported gambling expansion and who has often been at odds with Jaffe over regulation, received about $70,000 in campaign contributions tied to a Louisiana businessman who could be excluded by the reform. ===

    Shilling from? Or shilling for?

    It looks like we have at least one answer, lol.


  9. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    They got like two names in that black book, and one of them is Al Capone.

    The other is Nicky Santoro.


  10. - Willie Stark - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    Not liking Mr. Jaffe’s re-confirmation chances. His renomination was submitted last Oct. 30. Perhaps he’s auditioning for a new role on the government reform gravy train? And, who funds the GRGT? Well, in most cases, we don’t completely know. When will the media ask these groups to be as transparent with their donors as these groups demand all others be transparent? Never.


  11. - 6-4-3 - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    I’m familiar with the process, Demoralized. I was just inartfully suggesting that some state agencies attempt to utilize that process when the typical rulemaking process is appropriate.


  12. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    I think this is what happens when you have a lead regulator who fundamentally does not like what he regulates.

    I really think they proposed this specifically to kill or at the least reduce video gaming as much as possible.


  13. - Soccermom - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    JCAR is an “obscure panel of lawmakers”?

    “It’s news to me,” says the Tribune….


  14. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:20 pm:

    While the Gaming Board may be going about it all wrong, video gaming in Illinois has had a strong organized crime influence. Many of the people in the Family Secrets trial got a “straight job” from vending machine companies tied to video gaming.

    And while it was a few years earlier, the Metro East has some similar “issues” …

    http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2005-11-30/news/win-lose-die/full/

    http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2005-12-07/news/win-lose-die/


  15. - circular firing squad - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    Two facts
    Jaffrey remains opposed to video poker. This is just latest ploy
    JCAR has been turning down phony non emergency for years. Perhaps the Gaming Board will introduce a bill if they want a new law


  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===video gaming in Illinois has had a strong organized crime influence===

    Well, of course. It’s why I supported legalization. Run the criminals out of business. But don’t pick on a waitress, for crying out loud.


  17. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    That’s why I said “the Gaming Board may be going about it all wrong” … .

    Serious question - how have other states handled this?


  18. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    Well Anyone Remember, some states have had the state own the machines that cuts the mob influence quite a bit.


  19. - Been There - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:57 pm:

    They should have had the Lottery run the machines from the beginning. There is not much difference between ching, ching, ching and scratch, scratch, scratch. And they would have had this up and running years before it took the Gaming Board.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    Most likely right, Been There.


  21. - Nucky Thompson - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:07 pm:

    The Gaming Board already has authority over everyone working in a video gaming establishment. It’s in the Video Gaming Act, Section 78 paragraph 2. So they already have authority but no authority to create an Exclusion List for video gaming.


  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    Nucky, they have zero authority over who a beer distributor hires to answer phones. But they wanted it.


  23. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    == And the same goes for people who work for vendors who supply those taverns, restaurants, truck stops, etc. and for those who aren’t even convicted of anything. ==

    Seems like you would end up with a huge list of places that ex-offenders could never work.


  24. - Capo - Thursday, Jan 16, 14 @ 8:26 pm:

    I know it has been exposed before but someone should take a hard look at the gaming board itself. A whole bunch of big dollar state pensioners back on the gaming board payroll drawing another salary. Many of them are back on contract in the same job they retired from effectively nearly doubling their salary. What does Mr. Jaffe have to say about this?


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