Mon. May 27th, 2024

Video gambling in Illinois is big business, generating billions in revenues for local bars while also contributing significantly to state and local governments in tax revenue. But according to ProPublica investigation, lawmakers made decisions that undercut taxpayers while favoring companies marketing video gambling – including lowering fees paid by establishments while giving video gambling companies more of the profits, underestimating costs associated with monitoring machines, and failing to predict that video machines could cut into casino profits which are taxed at a higher rate.

Based on interviews with bar owners and public records, this investigation shows that many video gambling terminals in Illinois are operated by companies owned by Rehberger or his family. Furthermore, Rehberger’s companies allegedly utilize market power to bypass regulatory guidelines.

Rehberger owns and operates 39 video-gaming lounges across the Metro-east, including Lacey’s Place locations in Belleville and Highland. Additionally, his company was named in several complaints filed against it by the state Gaming Board. Complaints have been filed alleging violations of both the Illinois Gambling Act and Board’s Adopted Rules on Video Gaming. Lucky Lincoln sales agents allegedly offered inducements to owners of restaurants where they wanted to install machines, according to complaints filed with Illinois Gambling Act authorities. These included cash payments and Rolex watches as well as construction of new video-gambling rooms. Illinois Gaming Act prohibits terminal operatorss from offering anything of value in exchange for placing video gambling machines.

Attorneys representing the company have denied any wrongdoing and asked the Gaming Board to reconsider any disciplinary action taken against it. The Board will review complaints received and decide if further actions will be taken against the company. Administrative-law judges act in much the same manner as circuit court judges when it comes to overseeing disciplinary proceedings, reviewing evidence and making recommendations to their board of directors. The board could then decide to take further disciplinary measures, such as suspending an establishment’s or sales agent’s license, if their misconduct was serious enough; alternatively they might reinstate it if their offense wasn’t serious enough. Lucky Lincoln faces allegations of witness tampering and failing to fully disclose information regarding its employees, with hearings set for Sept 21 on these claims. They have requested the state waive their legal fees of about $125,000 associated with both lawsuits and the disciplinary hearing; as is customary in Gaming Board cases, their request should be granted.