Video gambling group leader could lose license to run machines

  • The president of a statewide group of video gambling machine operators faces having his own license to run the machines revoked.

      The president of a statewide group of video gambling machine operators faces having his own license to run the machines revoked. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/5/2016 5:42 PM

The president of a statewide group of video gambling machine operators faces having his own license to run the machines revoked.

A complaint from the Illinois Gaming Board says Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association President Michael Gelatka submitted false information last year in an application to put the machines in a new establishment called Bohemian Joe's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The complaint says Gelatka turned in the application before the Lansing bar was granted a new liquor license. As a result, he used a "fictitious" liquor license number of "1A-7654321" and turned in the application, the complaint says.

A bar or restaurant needs a liquor license in order to have video gambling machines.

With that information, the Illinois Gaming Board voted in January voted to revoke the license of Gelatka's company, G3 Gaming, which has machines in dozens of bars and restaurants across the state, including in Elgin and West Dundee.

"I think this shows that we take misrepresentations very seriously," Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Don Tracy said just before the vote.

The company's gambling machines can keep operating pending an appeal, a Gaming Board spokesman said. Gelatka has 21 days to respond, and a hearing would follow that. Then the Gaming Board could vote on a final ruling on discipline.

Gelatka wasn't immediately available to comment, but a statement from the association he leads says the group is aware of the action and reiterates there's an appeal process to come.

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"At this time, the IGMOA has no further comment regarding a pending disciplinary complaint involving one of its members," the statement said.

The Gaming Board complaint says he told investigators he thought he could go back and change the information at a later date and that "he completed the application at 2 a.m. when he was tired."

The Illinois Gaming Board is tasked with regulating video gambling and casinos in Illinois.

Last year, Gelatka said it was important for video gambling operators to follow the state's rules when it was revealed the only violations for underage gambling at bars and restaurants in Illinois have been in Mundelein.

"We will continue to make responsible gaming our top priority as the industry continues to grow, create jobs for Illinois citizens and generate significant tax revenue for the state and local municipalities," he said in a statement at the time.

The industry has grown quickly in Illinois. In December 2015, for example, Illinois had 22,135 machines in 5,222 locations across the state, according to monthly report.

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