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More Gaming Board follies

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012

* The Illinois Gaming Board claims that video poker will begin rolling out by September. But the system appears to be a mess. From the Tribune

• The Illinois Gaming Board has completed its review of only 46 of 144 license applications received from manufacturers, distributors and “terminal operators” — the owners of the games who will place them in establishments.

• Gaming officials have yet to accept applications from thousands of bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal organizations that plan to offer the games, or to start investigations needed to approve those licenses.

• Game manufacturers have yet to be given final technical specifications from the state and still must have their games tested by independent laboratories to ensure they meet state law.

Complicating the work is the fact that the Gaming Board’s staff is more than one-third smaller than it should be, said board Chairman Aaron Jaffe, leaving him reluctant to offer a hard timeline for when video poker finally will start making the state money.

The General Assembly appropriated all the money the Board needs to hire staff. But the Board is taking six months to a year to hire employees, according to the article, and the governor’s office apparently isn’t releasing enough cash to ramp up the hiring. [Memo to Gov. Quinn: A little money spent now means more money can start flowing into state coffers soon.]

This is the same Gaming Board that screwed up the 2010 bidding for a central computer system. The contract was rebid and finally awarded last month.

And it’s still unclear whether the Board will allow some establishments to offer the games to their customers ahead of others

“When you have got thousands of people to license, somebody is going to get theirs ahead of somebody else,” said Jaffe, the Gaming Board chief.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OurMagician - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:20 am:

    It’s more than past time for Chairman Jaffe to move along.

  2. - Irish - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:26 am:

    This is SOP for Springfield. If the Gov wants to improve the economy, and start to move the state forward he either has to start delegating to competent people or start making some decisions. Taxpayers would be amazed at the amount of money lost because no one down there can or will make a decision. I know of one case personally where $80,000.00 was lost because no one could make a decision.

  3. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Under the law as I understand it (it has a section about how no machine owner can have more than x% of the market) you would have to approve at least 5 machine owners (it might be 4) before machine one can be deployed.

    Even if you could do that today (don’t think any machine owners are approved) the state still has not established the technical specs on what information will be made available by the machines and how to meet Section 15 criteria 14 and 15 of the video gaming act.

  4. - Chicago Bars - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:39 am:

    Sure wish the Department of Revenue had taken this much time rolling out the 90% liquor excise tax hike, and 25% beer tax hike that were bundled with the Video Poker Act.

    Those aspiring video poker guys aren’t the only ones shelling out ahead of these machines getting legalized (for 70% of the state)

  5. - TCB - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    Again, the double standard when it comes to state employees. People think agencies are over-staffed, wasteful & over-paid, until a news story like this comes out, then people demand to know why they aren’t maintaining their budgeted headcount. If the Governor allowed every agency to fully staff itself, the state’s headcount would increase by about 20%. Make up your minds.

  6. - Cam McAndrews - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 9:56 am:

    Agreed @OurMagician. The Tribune’s love affair with Jaffe needs to end as well

  7. - mark walker - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    While we spend so much time and attention on legislation and politicians, it’s the implementation by operating managers that counts. Sorry to say, many bills have little if any concrete impact.

    Fixing Illinois will involve more process improvement, including within the GA, than policy improvement. Unfortunately the best process managers often aren’t attracted to government, and the public tends not to elect them to leadership positions.

    If the Civic Federation and Commercial Club members, including world-class consulting firms, really wanted to help the state, they would lend us some top process change managers — as they have recently done with the new Cook County and City of Chicago administrations.

  8. - Shock & Awww(e) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    But IL is already spending the revenue this was supposed to generate, right?


  9. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 10:25 am:

    The foot-dragging here is unbelievable. It’s the law, and has been for some time. If the current crew can’t pursue their jobs with some earnestness, time for a new crew.

    Unless, of course, you jut want to allow the Outfit to keep skimming from their illegal machines.

  10. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 10:25 am:

    Wonder why it is taking so long for these foot dragging mopes to be exposed…..partially becuase the Trib did not favor this form of gambling..they like the clean Pritzker casinos and Mr. Ds track

  11. - Niles Township - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 10:42 am:

    Jaffe is one of the few decent public servants in this state. We’d all be better off if the Speaker moved along We’d all be worse off if Jaffe moved along.

  12. - TCB - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    @ Shock & Awww(e)

    Actually, no. The state has issued bonds against the Capital Projects Fund revenues as they have materialized. Since the Video Gaming Revenues haven’t yet started coming in, the State hasn’t been able to fully execute the capital program as they planned.

  13. - Shock & Awww(e) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    @ TCB

    So we’re ^just^ missing out on the jobs, infrastructure and federal matching funds the 2011 Capital Budget Book promises will be created by video gaming revenue?

    Even better.

  14. - Shock & Awww(e) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 11:25 am:


    and thanks for clarifying that. Not being snarky.

  15. - Stones - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    The process just seems so messy. I haven’t talked with a single person who thinks we are going to do this fairly and correctly. If they want to offer video based gaming in bars then why don’t they look at the Keno games broadcast in Michigan establishments. Its seems to work well and is popular.

  16. - fed up - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    CFS “Wonder why it is taking so long for these foot dragging mopes to be exposed…..partially becuase the Trib did not favor this form of gambling..they like the clean Pritzker casinos and Mr. Ds track.” I would prefer new casinos that would bring in more money and keep money from flowing like a river from illinois to indiana but for some reason Quinn likes giving mitch daniels millions in illinois dollars every month. Quinn needs to get any revenue source he can fully utilized, including setting up a Lemonade stand for thirsty reporters when ever he gets down to Springfield.

  17. - SoIL - Tuesday, Feb 28, 12 @ 4:47 pm:

    Do the math in the Tribune article and you find that the $400 million that Sci Games is said to recieved would make the State’s annual share $1.6 billion. Nice job Trib! Pick one revenue # and stick with it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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