* 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.