A Dundee man is in Cook County Circuit Court, saying the Illinois Gaming Board dealt him a bad hand by improperly ordering a video gaming company to stop using his business as a broker to arrange contracts for lease of the company's machines.
Ryan D. Gumma, who owns Ideal Amusements, Inc., of East Dundee, lodged a three-count complaint July 27 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the five-member Illinois Gaming Board, which oversees video gambling in the state.
Ideal Amusements served almost two years as a contractual sales agent — known as a "finder" in the video gaming business — for Gold Rush Amusements, Inc., of Glendale Heights. For a fee or commission, Ideal would set up contracts with establishments, such as bars and truck stops, to exclusively use Gold Rush's video poker and video slot machines. Gumma said such contracts can sell for $20,000 to $40,000 each.
The relationship between Ideal and Gold Rush came to an end in June 2015, when the Gaming Board sent a letter to Gold Rush, telling Gold Rush that Ideal “had not met its purported burden to demonstrate its suitability under the Video Gaming Act." The Gaming Board allegedly did not give reasons why Ideal was unsuitable and ordered Gold Rush to "disassociate" from Ideal. Gumma said the Gaming Board never informed him of its action, but rather only communicated with Gold Rush, who in turn, told him. Gumma also said the Gaming Board never gave him the opportunity of a hearing to contest the board’s action.
Gold Rush complied with the Gaming Board’s order so as to not jeopardize its license, according to Gumma. The result was Ideal was effectively “blacklisted” from acting as a finder.
Gumma said he has no criminal convictions that would bar him from acting as a finder for Ideal, and prior to the June 2015 letter to Gold Rush, he said the Gaming Board had never expressed concerns to Gold Rush about Gumma or his corporation. In fact, the Gaming Board knowingly allowed Ideal to act as a finder for Gold Rush for almost two years before taking action.
According to Gumma, the board is authorized to license entities including: video gaming equipment manufacturers, equipment suppliers, distributors, handlers/technicians, gaming locations and terminal operators. Gumma contended finders, like his company, do not fall under any of those categories. However, he said the board holds finders to the same requirements as licensees – such as requiring fingerprints – but without affording them the due process protections extended to licensees.
Gumma claimed the board publicly acknowledged it lacks the power to order the disassociation of finders, when the board published notice on June 19, 2015, in The Illinois Register of a proposed rule specifically to permit such power. As of the date Gumma filed his complaint against the board, the proposal remains a proposal, not having been adopted.
Gumma wants a judge to declare the board’s action null and void, as he argues the action was not authorized and violated the separation of powers clause of the U.S. and Illinois constitutions. Also, Gumma wants the board to be prohibited from “licensing” finders without providing them due process.
Further, Gumma asked the court to declare the board violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act. In this connection, Gumma said the board listed Ideal on the agenda for the May 27, 2015, meeting as a topic to be discussed during closed session, describing Ideal as an “Other Interested Party.” During that closed session, Gumma said the board apparently took action against his business, because there is no evidence any action was taken in open session, where, by law, it should have been taken.
Gumma wants Ideal to be awarded his costs in bringing the suit and attorney fees.
Ideal Amusements is represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Fox Rothschild, of Chicago.