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Riverboat Gaming Operations
To set the policy of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and establish the
procedures whereby alcoholic liquor dispensing aspects of riverboat gaming
operations may be regulated.
It is the policy of this Commission, and that of the Illinois Gaming Board, that
the alcoholic liquor dispensing aspects of riverboat gaming operations shall be
regulated by this Commission.
The principal business function of a riverboat gaming operation is gaming; however, alcohol sales are a tangential business function of such gaming
operations (Gaming Regulation 9000.100). The Illinois Liquor Control Commission
has exclusive jurisdiction over all aspects of liquor licensing of riverboat
premises, with the exception of the determination of hours of operation (235
ILCS 5/6-30; Gaming Regulations 3000.900 & 3000.930). Riverboat gaming
operations are subject to the “Happy Hour” limitations (235 ILCS 5/6-28;
5/6-30. Riverboat Gambling Excursions - Sale and Consumption of Alcoholic Liquor. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Illinois Gaming Board shall
have exclusive authority to establish the hours for sale and consumption of
alcoholic liquor on board a riverboat during riverboat gambling excursions
conducted in accordance with the Riverboat Gambling Act.
235 ILCS 5/5-1(g) states the parameters of a boat liquor license “to allow the
sale of alcoholic liquor in individual drinks, on any passenger boat regularly
operated as a common carrier on navigable waters in this State, which boat
maintains a public dining room or restaurant thereon.”
A recent amendment to the Riverboat Gambling Act states: 230 ILCS 10/5 Sec. 5. Gaming Board. (b) The Board shall have general responsibility for the implementation of this Act. Its duties include, without limitation, the following: (18) To authorize a licensee to sell or serve alcoholic liquors, wine or beer as defined in the Liquor Control Act of 1934 on board a riverboat and to have exclusive authority to establish the hours for sale and consumption of alcoholic liquor on board a riverboat, notwithstanding any provision of the Liquor Control Act of 1934 or any local ordinance, and regardless of whether the riverboat makes excursions. The establishment of the hours for sale and consumption of
alcoholic liquor on board a riverboat is an exclusive power and function of the
State. A home rule unit may not establish the hours for sale and consumption of
alcoholic liquor on board a riverboat. This amendatory Act of 1991 is a denial
and limitation of home rule powers and functions under subsection (h) of Section
6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution.
(19) After consultation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to establish
binding emergency orders upon the concurrence of a majority of the members of
the Board regarding the navigability of water, relative to excursions, in the
event of extreme weather conditions, acts of God or other extreme circumstances.
This statutory change has created something of a dichotomy since the State
liquor license allows service of alcohol only during navigation, while the State
gambling law does not require riverboats which have liquor licenses to navigate.
This dichotomy was resolved with the passage of H.B.4462, which was signed into law as P.A. 92-0672, [235 ILCS 5/5-1(g)] which provides: (g) A boat license shall allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in individual drinks, on any passenger boat regularly operated as a common carrier on navigable waters in this State or on any riverboat operated under the Riverboat Gambling Act, which boat or riverboat maintains a public dining room or
- Riverboat gaming operations may not provide free alcoholic beverages to patrons, nor promote activities which encourage over consumption;
- Private functions must be paid for at full market value by a “bona fide”
third party which is not directly or indirectly related to or associated with
the riverboat gaming operation licensee;
- Meal package promotions are allowable on the land based operations
associated with the riverboat gaming operation as long as the service of
alcoholic liquor is part of the meal package and the meal package is purchased
at a reasonable price by the patron.
- Riverboat gaming operations fulfill the requirement of having a public dining room if such operations include a land based dining facility [235 ILCS
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