Category Archives: Video Poker

Animal Farm at the Sheriff’s Department

Former McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Zane Seipler continues to deliver interesting nuggets at his web site called McHenry County Sheriff’s Race 2014.

The masthead of Zane Seipler's current blog.
The masthead of Zane Seipler’s current blog.  Click to enlarge.

The most recent post has an Animal Farm echo.

Although not naming the Corrections Office in question, Seipler tells about how the person learned of a raid on a tavern conducting illegal gambling and called to warn the establishment. He uses a photo of a video poker (slot) machined to illustrate the illegal activity.

Somehow the tip was discovered by administrators and the person lost his or her job.

Seipler then reproduces the affidavit of Sheriff’s Deputy John Koziol, which you can read here in the story entitled,

Andy Zinke Said to Have Spilled Beans to Local DEA Suspect, a Big Contributor to Zinke and Sheriff Keith Nygren

Koziol asked for a Special Prosecutor, but was turned down.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianhci looked at the situation and concluded that what Zinke did may have been wrong, but he did not break any criminal laws.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Against that background Seipler pints out the obvious difference in treatment of the “2010 Andrew Zinke tip…off the owner of Rita Corporation regarding a DEA investigation into the delivery of 30 tons of narcotics” and the firing of the Corrections Officer.

With tongue fully in check, Seipler asks, “Guess what happened to Zinke?”

Next comes my infamous photo of Zinke’s gesture at Crystal Lake’s Independence Day Parade and this:

“The Sheriff endorsed him as his replacement for the 2014 elections.”

Seipler is a candidate for one of two Republican nominations for the McHenry County Board in District 5.  Incumbents are Republican John Jung, supporting Zinke for Sheriff over Bill Prim, and Democrat Paula Yensen.

Slots That Aren’t Defined as Slots Might Be Coming Our Way

The new slot machine legislation going into effect on New Year’s Day goes under the label of “sweepstakes.”

A front-page article on Monday's Chicago Tribune tells of a slot machine loophole law that takes affect New Year's Day.
A front-page article on Monday’s Chicago Tribune tells of a slot machine loophole law that takes affect New Year’s Day.

The Tribune’s Joseph Ryan has written a major story on what most legislators probably thought was a  minor bill.

Let’s test that perception.

Minor bills usually pass with very high vote totals, so let’s take a look at who voted for this expansion of gambling.

Here’s the House roll call on the bill sponsored by Lou Lang and Ed Sullivan.  It passed 98-18.

The House roll call on House Bill 1140, the so-called "sweepstakes" legislation that will allow unlicensed slot machines.
The House roll call on House Bill 1140, the so-called “sweepstakes” legislation that will allow unlicensed slot machines.

Voting in favor among those representing McHenry County were David McSweeney, Tim Schmitz, Mike Tryon and Barb Wheeler.  In other words, all Republicans voted for the bill.

Democrat Jack Franks voted, “No.”  Interestingly, Speaker Mike Madigan voted against his leadership team mate’s bill.

Sponsored by >Antonio Muñoz, the Senate 37-10 roll call follows:

The Senate roll call on the "sweepstakes" slot machine bill, House Bill 1140.
The Senate roll call on the “sweepstakes” slot machine bill, House Bill 1140.

Local State Senator Karen McConnaughay voted in favor, while fellow Republicans Dan Duffy and Pam Althoff did not cast votes on the measure.

Gambling Sweepstakes Trib 12-30-13 paperThe Illinois Gaming Board thinks the machines are illegal.

McHenry Grade School Board member John O’Neill started this article off with this observation:

The state is in over its head. They don’t know what the hell they are doing but are being led around by the the nose by the Gambling Interests (The Casino Law Group).
“…A Gaming Board representative didn’t oppose the legislation but told lawmakers, “‘We don’t fully understand it,’ and raised concerns about legalizing gray machines…”
Doesn’t it seem like, as long as the money keeps rolling in, the Gambling Interests can pretty much do whatever they want?
“…The Casino Law Group has contributed $3,500 to Lang’s (state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie) campaign fund, most of it this year. The firm also contributed $5,000 this year to House Speaker Michael Madigan’s campaign fund…”

Here’s how the Senate Republican staff summarized the bill:

Electric Charity Raffle Games (HB 1140/PA 98-0111): This legislation attempts to clarify that electronic charity raffle games are not considered a video game under the Video Gaming Act.

In some towns, players pay bartenders to add credit onto the game machines and then cash out the winnings—designated charities receive a percentage of the money.

Currently these machines are legal under the Illinois Raffles Act.

Slot Machine Supporters Roll Snake Eyes in Crystal Lake…Again

Crystal Lake last considered allowing slot machines (euphemistically called “video gaming” by supporters) in Crystal Lake in May, 2012.

The vote was 6-1 in opposition with only Ellen Brady-Mueller supporting allowing them.

Local bar and restaurant owners advanced the issue again, which resulted in a discussion in City Council chambers Tuesday night.

Presenting the case for allowing slot machines in Crystal Lake were

Paul Leech, Nino Hermes and Brian Coli made the case for allowing slot machines in Crystal Lake.
Paul Leech, Nino Hermes and Brian Coli made the case for allowing slot machines in Crystal Lake.

Leech argued that “things have changed since 2012,” pointing out that surrounding communities and the McHenry County Board had approved “gaming.”

The pitch involved the loss of revenue that the establishments sustain.

“We need the additional income that gaming will bring,” Leech said.

He argued that was no evidence of any increase in crime resulting from slot machines spread across the state and that customers would go out of Crystal Lake to find them, if they were not allowed in the city.

Hermes’ bar is located closest to Lake in the Hills, the nearest municipality to allow the video poker machines.  It is between Ackmann and Miller Roads.

He told of customers who said they would rather be at his establishment, “but my wife enjoys gaming.”

His biggest competitor is Moretti’s on Randall Road in Lake in the Hills.  Hermes said that it took in $10,667 in from video gaming and that he would have to “triple our sales” to earn that amount.

I was the only one to speak against allowing slot machines in Crystal Lake.

“Crystal Lake, a Good Place to Live,” used to be and maybe still is the slogan of the city.

I argued that allowing slots would hurt that desire.

I also pointed out that the Methodist Church, of which I am a member, opposes gambling.

Ellen Brady-Mueller
Ellen Brady-Mueller

Georgio owner Coli said he was opposed to the machines, but “our direct competitors five miles down the road are able to pay their employees more money” because of slot machine revenue.

“Are we the only town in McHenry County that does not allow it?” asked Brady-Mueller.

Repeating the argument she made the last time the issue was before the City Council, she said, “It’s not my job to tell people what’s right or wrong.”

Ralph Dawson
Ralph Dawson

Councilman Ralph Dawson refuted a survey that Leech said showed that Crystal Lakers wanted slot machines.

He told of talking to lots of people.

“There was no way they wanted it.  They didn’t support it at all.”

Cameron Hubbard
Cameron Hubbard
Brett Hopkins
Brett Hopkins

Both Brett Hopkins, who voted against slots originally, and newly-elected Cameron Hubbard indicated that they were open to taking a look at the issue.

Cameron said he didn’t seen any difference between buying lottery tickets at a gas station and the requested machines.

“My position is firm.  I’m not for it,” Jeff Thorsen said.

Aaron Shepley
Aaron Shepley

Mayor Aaron Shepley maintained his opposition.

He said that he thought the bars and restaurants were “not losing volume as much as opportunity.”

Referring to what other municipalities had done, he pointed out he had been taught not to succumb to peer group pressure.

“Maybe that’s what distinguishes us.”

While he conceded Brady-Mueller’s point that that it is “not in our purview to legislate morality…it is our job to legislate for the general welfare of the community.”

The Mayor argued that slot machines “would negatively impact the character of our community.”

He also said he had talked to Kathy Ferguson, a social worker by profession, who told him that she “wasn’t in favor of re-opening the issue before and isn’t now [because it was] helping to feed addiction.”

Shepley said, “It would take some sort of miracle to change my mind.”

You don’t have a majority, so what’s the point?” Brady-Mueller concluded.

Jeff Thorsen
Jeff Thorsen

“Mrs. Ferguson was adamant, absolutely opposed.”

Thorsen explained that it was an extra revenue stream that the city didn’t need. “I don’t think we’ll see restaurants vacating.

“I do believe we have our finger on the pulse of the community,” Shepley said.

“I do believe it would affect the character of our community in a negative way.”

Shepley indicated that if the citizenry felt strongly enough that he was wrong on the issue and he lost the next election, “I’m willing to take that vote.”

Newspaper Columnist Points Out Video Gambling Equals Nine New Casinos

Southtown columnist Phil Kadner took a look at the slot machines, euphemistically called video gambling, and found that they are the equivalent of nine new casinos.

Phil Kadner estimates
Phil Kadner estimates the 9,794 slot machines in 2,402  bars, restaurants, veterans halls and truck stops equal about nine new Illinois casinos.

Lots of money that won’t be spent on goods and services will be spent instead on what supporters call “entertainment.”

Electronic Vouchers Would Be Used to Feed Slots under Senate Bill 2234

After referring to Pottersville in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," Aaron Shepley said, "If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it].  I'm not going to compromise my beliefs."
After referring to Pottersville in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Aaron Shepley said, “If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it]. I’m not going to compromise my beliefs.” It appears members of the Illinois General Assembly do not agree.
This article started with a press release from the Illinois Church Action Council on Alcohol and Addiction. There are so many bills expanding gambling (despite the loss of the one to give Chicago, Danville, Rockford and the Waukegan-area casinos) that I am adding the roll calls. In order not to make an article too long, I shall run one a day.

Gambling Bills Passed by the Legislature – Part 8

Senate Bill 2234 allows electronic vouchers to be used in video gambling machines instead of cash.  Electronic vouchers make it easier and faster for people to lose their money and gamble away their winnings.

Senate Bill 2234 allows people to gamble with electronic cards.
Senate Bill 2234 allows people to gamble with electronic cards. It passed 80-37.   Voting in favor were Jack Franks and Mike Tryon.  Opposed were State Representatives David McSweeney, Tim Schmitz and Barb Wheeler.
Senate Bill 2234 passed the State Senate by
Senate Bill 2234 passed the State Senate by 41-14.  Voting for the bill was Karen McConnaughay.  Voting against the bill were Pam Althoff.  Dan Duffy did not vote because his daughter was graduating from high school.

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION

The ICACAA recommends contacting Governor Quinn and ask him to VETO the gambling expansion bills: House Bills 996, 1140, 1570, 2520 and Senate Bills 70, 1738, 1884, 2234, 2371.  Phone:  800-642-3112, 312-814-2121 or 217-782-6830 or Click here to send the Governor an e-mail.

Share this Alert with your faith community and ask them to CALL and PRAY for the Governor.

Bill Allows Company Running State’s Slot Machine Operation Also to Manufactured and Install Slots

After referring to Pottersville in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," Aaron Shepley said, "If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it].  I'm not going to compromise my beliefs."

This article started with a press release from the Illinois Church Action Council on Alcohol and Addiction. There are so many bills expanding gambling (despite the loss of the one to give Chicago, Danville, Rockford and the Waukegan-area casinos) that I am adding the roll calls. In order not to make an article too long, I shall run one a day.

Gambling Bills Passed by the Legislature – Part 6

Senate Bill 1738 is an expansion of video gambling.  More specifically,

  • defines “electronic card” (and removes a cross-reference to the Illinois Administrative Code);
  • provides that the central communications system vendor may be licensed as a video gaming terminal manufacturer or a video gaming terminal distributor, or both, but in no event shall the central communications system vendor be licensed as a video gaming terminal operator; [emphasis added]
  • provides that the Board shall not permit the development of information or the use by any licensee of gaming device or individual game performance data;
  • provides that nothing in the Act shall inhibit or prohibit the Board from the use of gaming device or individual game performance data in its regulatory duties;
  • requires the Board to adopt rules to ensure that all licensees are treated and all licensees act in a non-discriminatory manner and develop processes and penalties to enforce those rules;
  • adds language authorizing the Illinois Gaming Board to adopt rules establishing standards for advertising video gaming; removes language prohibiting the Board from disseminating information that is specific to individual licensed locations (and removes corresponding changes to the Freedom of Information Act); and,
  • in provisions amending the Criminal Code of 2012, provides that video gaming terminals for sale to a licensed distributor or operator (rather than a licensed establishment, licensed fraternal establishment, licensed veterans establishment, or licensed truck stop establishment) under the Video Gaming Act are exempt from seizure.
Senate Bill 1738 allows concentration of
On Senate Bill 1738 ,  with a vote of 35-15, Pam Althoff voted in favor,  while Dan Duffy and Karen McConnaughay voted against.
Senate Bill 1738 passed the Illinois House by
Senate Bill 1738 passed the Illinois House by 71-41-1.  Tim Schmitz voted in favor, while “No” votes were case by Jack Franks, Dave McSweeney, Mike Tryon and Barb Wheeler.

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION

The ICACAA recommends contacting Governor Quinn and ask him to VETO the gambling expansion bills: House Bills 996, 1140, 1570, 2520 and Senate Bills 70, 1738, 1884, 2234, 2371.  Phone:  800-642-3112, 312-814-2121 or 217-782-6830 or Click here to send the Governor an e-mail.

Share this Alert with your faith community and ask them to CALL and PRAY for the Governor.

Off-Track Betting Parlors Would Get Slot Machines under House Bill 1570

After referring to Pottersville in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," Aaron Shepley said, "If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it].  I'm not going to compromise my beliefs."
After referring to Pottersville in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Aaron Shepley said, “If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it]. I’m not going to compromise my beliefs.” It appears members of the Illinois General Assembly do not agree.
This article started with a press release from the Illinois Church Action Council on Alcohol and Addiction. There are so many bills expanding gambling (despite the loss of the one to give Chicago, Danville, Rockford and the Waukegan area casinos) that I am adding the roll calls. In order not to make on article too long, I shall run one a day.

Gambling Bills Passed by the Legislature – Part 3

House Bill 1570 expands video gambling in restaurants that have Off Track Betting Parlors.

The Senate vote on House Bill 1570, which allows slot machines in off-track betting parlors.  State Senator Pam Althoff lives in McHenry, which has such a parlor.  It was moved from Richmond when that location didn't bring in enough cash. Althoff voted in favor.
The Senate vote on House Bill 1570, which allows slot machines in off-track betting parlors. State Senator Pam Althoff lives in McHenry, which has such a parlor. It was moved from Richmond when that location didn’t bring in enough cash.  Althoff and Karen McConnaughay voted in favor, while Dan Duffy voted, “No.”  The bill passed 41-11.
Here is the vote on House Bill 1570, which allows off-track betting parlors to install and operate slot machines.
Here is the vote on House Bill 1570, which allows off-track betting parlors to install and operate slot machines.  Mike Tryon voted for the legislation.  Jack Franks, David McSweeney, Tim Schmitz and Barb Wheeler voted against the bill, which passed 91-24.

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION

The ICACAA recommends contacting Governor Quinn and ask him to VETO the gambling expansion bills: House Bills 996, 1140, 1570, 2520 and Senate Bills 70, 1738, 1884, 2234, 2371.  Phone:  800-642-3112, 312-814-2121 or 217-782-6830 or Click here to send the Governor an e-mail.

Share this Alert with your faith community and ask them to CALL and PRAY for the Governor.

Bills the Gambling Men and Women of the General Assembly Passed on the Way to Potterville

After referring to Pottersville in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," Aaron Shepley said, "If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it].  I'm not going to compromise my beliefs."
After referring to Pottersville in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Aaron Shepley said, “If the voters of Crystal Lake want it (gambling) more than me as Mayor,[so be it]. I’m not going to compromise my beliefs.”  It appears members of the Illinois General Assembly do not agree.
This article started with a press release from the Illinois Church Action Council on Alcohol and Addiction.  There are so many bills expanding gambling (despite the loss of the one to give Chicago, Danville, Rockford and the Waukegan area casinos) that I am adding the roll calls.  In order not to make an article too long, I shall run one a day.

Gambling Bills Passed by the Legislature – Part 1

While Legislators and reporters awaited changes to the massive gambling expansion bill, SB 1739, both the House and Senate passed the following bills to expand gambling:

House Bill 996 is an expansion of charitable gambling that also allows video gambling machines in the same facility, turning the events into full casinos. Gambling companies, not charities, will rake in most of the money. The Department of Revenue does not have enough investigators to adequately monitor and enforce this law.

The Senate vote on House Bill 996 which allows charitable games
The Senate 40-12 vote on House Bill 996 which allows slot machines where charitable gaming allowed.  Pam Althoff and Karen McConnaughay voted in favor, while Dan Duffy voted, “No.”
Final vote on House Bill 996,
Final 70-46-1 vote on House Bill 996, which allows slot machines where charitable gaming allowed. Voting “Yes” was Mike Tryon.  Voting in opposition were Jack Franks, David McSweeney, Tim Schmitz and Barb Wheeler.

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION

The organization urges people to contact Governor Quinn and ask him to VETO the gambling expansion bills: House Bills 996, 1140, 1570, 2520 and Senate Bills 70, 1738, 1884, 2234, 2371.  Phone:  800-642-3112, 312-814-2121 or 217-782-6830 or Click here to send the Governor an e-mail.

Share this Alert with your faith community and ask them to CALL and PRAY for the Governor.

Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Talking about Legal and Illegal Video Games

This Crystal Lake video poker machine has been removed.
This Crystal Lake video poker machine has been removed.

A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi:

MCHENRY COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE HOSTS THE ILLINOIS GAMING BOARD

Louis A. Bianchi is pleased to announce that the State’s Attorney’s Office is sponsoring a free seminar on Legal and Illegal Video Games on June 4, 2013, in the State’s Attorney’s Office Grand Jury Room at the McHenry County Government Center at 3:00 p.m.

This seminar is open to all law enforcement, public officials, municipalities, judiciary, lawyers, business owners and the general public.

Mark Ostrowski, Administrator, Illinois Gaming Board will be presenting.