Accel Leisure, the biggest operator of video gaming terminals (VGT) within the US, faces a lawsuit from a competitor in Illinois. The lawsuit claims “unlawful and tortious conduct” by Accel because it tried “to dominate and management the video gaming trade in Illinois.”
Rick Heidner, a Chicago-area businessman who owns VGT distributor Gold Rush Amusements, speaks throughout a press convention on the Area of Desires in Dyersville, Iowa, in September 2021. Earlier this week, Gold Rush sued Accel Leisure, a competitor in Illinois, accusing it of unlawful conduct after loaning Gold Rush $30 million in 2019. (Picture: Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald)
Gold Rush Amusements filed the lawsuit Wednesday in a Prepare dinner County courthouse. In line with the 25-page criticism, Gold Rush took out two loans from Accel totaling $30 million in July 2019.
As a part of the settlement, Accel included a framework for it to transform the mortgage into an fairness share of Gold Rush in case it was unable to repay the loans. Nevertheless, the swimsuit claims Accel CEO Andy Rubenstein instructed Gold Rush proprietor Rick Heidner repeatedly that his firm wouldn’t take that step. The mortgage papers had been amended in December 2020 to offer Gold Rush the possibility to expedite compensation with out incurring any penalties.
Gold Rush Claims Accel Set Up ‘Bounty’ Program
On the similar time, Gold Rush claimed Accel started to intervene in its enterprise. Representatives of Accel would make deceptive statements about Gold Rush going out of enterprise, the corporate dropping its license with the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), and Heidner going through an indictment on federal fees.
In September 2019, Heidner was linked to a federal investigation into then-State Sen. Martin Sandoval. Whereas the investigation would finally scuttle Heidner’s likelihood to get a racing and on line casino gaming license in Illinois, the US Legal professional’s workplace would declare the Gold Rush proprietor a non-target in June 2020.
As well as, Gold Rush discovered of a “bounty” system Rubenstein arrange for his gross sales group, giving them increased commissions in the event that they received a Gold Rush shopper to change to Accel. A lot in order that the lawsuit alleges Rubenstein instructed his gross sales group to solely deal with taking enterprise away from Gold Rush and never another competitor.
This conduct was supposed to hurt Gold Rush’s enterprise and scale back the expansion prospects for Gold Rush in order that it could be extra amenable to being acquired by Accel, doubtlessly at a reduction,” the swimsuit states.
That led to Gold Rush in search of to repay its loans as shortly as attainable. However on the similar time, the swimsuit additionally contends that final July, Accel began to take steps to activate the fairness clause within the mortgage settlement.
After the IGB rejected Accel’s transfer, that firm filed two lawsuits earlier this 12 months. One in opposition to the board as a problem to its ruling, and one other in opposition to Gold Rush for reneging on the mortgage settlement by blocking the fairness conversion.
Gold Rush, in its lawsuit, seeks damages from Accel for the misinformation its workers allegedly unfold out there. The corporate additionally seeks damages and reduction pertaining to the loans.
A message to an Accel spokesperson was not instantly returned over the weekend.
About Illinois VGT Market
VGTs are a serious a part of the Illinois gaming market. By the top of 2021, there have been 41,826 machines deployed throughout 7,841 places statewide. Bettors gambled almost $29.8 billion in these terminals final 12 months, in keeping with IGB knowledge. And the terminals generated almost $2.5 billion in income.
Revenues are divided between the sport operators, the institutions housing the video games, and state and native governments. In 2021, Illinois and municipal governments obtained $841.4 million in tax income from VGTs.
In line with the Gold Rush lawsuit, Accel has at the very least 13,663 terminals in operation throughout 2,565 Illinois institutions. Gold Rush has about 3,656 machines housed at greater than 650 amenities.
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