CHICAGO — — A day after a legislative committee rejected rules aimed at tightening who sells contracts for video gambling terminals and who can do business with the state, the head of the Illinois Gaming Board said Wednesday he will bring the issue back to lawmakers.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted unanimously Tuesday to deny rules that would put restrictions on selling contracts for terminals and create a list of who Illinois can't do business with, similar to what the state does with casinos. The proposed rules follow Chicago Tribune investigations showing how unlicensed solicitors profited from selling contracts for video gambling machines at up to $20,000 a bar.
Committee members said the proposed rules went too far and the gaming board didn't fully explain its position.
"These rules were overbroad," said state Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat.
Lang said the board also didn't make a case for asking for approval under an "emergency" basis as they were filed.
However, Illinois Gaming Board chairman Aaron Jaffe said the guidelines were needed quickly to keep unsavory characters out of gambling. He said the committee members' claims that they went too far were "nonsense."
"I was absolutely astounded that they would reject (the rules)," Jaffe said Wednesday.
Jaffe said the board, which regulates all gambling in Illinois, will either bring the issue to the full General Assembly this year or draft another set of rules for the committee, which is comprised of both senators and representatives.
The first video gambling machines in Illinois were installed at bars, veterans' establishments and truck stops in 2012, more than three years after the state approved video gambling. There are now more than 12,000 machines running statewide. Several licenses are required throughout the process, including to manufacture, own, operate and install them.
Jaffe estimates hundreds of contracts were sold by unlicensed individuals. It's unclear what will happen to terminals installed under those contracts.