COVID-19

April 1, 2020         
 

COVID-19 UPDATE: 
VIDEO POKER LICENSE RENEWALS
 
As you know, video poker license renewal applications are typically due by May 16th. 
Several of you have asked if State Police would be extending these renewal deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
We received e-mail about video poker license renewals from Major McNeal with State Police and wanted to pass it along so that you all know what to expect: 
"Currently, the Governor’s stay at home order and the Board’s emergency deadline extension order are applicable until April 13, 2020. We understand that said mandate will, most likely, be extended at some point. We anticipate the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will extend its current emergency orders in conjunction with any Governor order. As June 30 is well beyond any currently anticipated orders or proclamations, the Board will not address those at this time.
 
We are aware that LAC 42:XI.2405 requires licensees to submit their renewal applications at least 45 days prior to the expiration and allows the division to assess a civil penalty for failing to do so.  Please be assured that the division understands the current issues that businesses are facing. Therefore, the division will not assess a civil penalty to a video draw poker licensee for failing to submit its renewal application prior to May 16, 2020. Licensees need only submit their completed renewal application prior to June 30, 2020. However, we are requesting that licensees submit their renewal applications as soon as possible to avoid a backlog in June.
 
Sincerely
 
Major McNeal"


 
We appreciate our friends at State Police and the Gaming Control Board doing what they can to assist our industry in this difficult time. 
We will continue to keep you updated on important developments. 

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March 27, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: 

FORCE MAJEURE EXTENSION

 

 

As you know, due to the emergency order that the Governor issued as a result of COVID-19, State Police placed all video poker establishments into force majeure in regards to amenity requirements. 

 

Obviously, while you are not operating your machines, you do not need to meet any of these requirements. However, in anticipation of reopening the casinos, we know that many of you are concerned about getting employees back to work in your restaurant's.  Similarly, there have been concerns about meeting fuel sales requirements in a recessed economy

 

When you are allowed to reopen, we do not want these requirements to prohibit you from operating. 

 

We have spoken to the Governor, the Gaming Control Board and State Police about these concerns and have asked them to extend force majeure for these amenities to allow you to operate the gaming while you get back on your feet. 

 

They have agreed that an extension in force majeure would be in the best interest of business owners and the state as you begin reopening. We have requested that force majeure remain in effect for the remainder of this year. 

 

As we get closer to reopening and the issue of force majeure extension becomes more of a necessity, we will keep you informed of how long it will remain in place. 

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March 27, 2020


COVID-19 UPDATE: 

Device Operation Fees

 

 

We know that this is a difficult time for everyone and we are doing everything we can to inform you on what is going on and to educate the Governor and the Legislature about the challenges that you all are facing. 

 

You have received several notifications from us regarding the device operation fees that we are attempting to get suspended due to the fact that your machines are not operating. 

 

We have spoken to the Speaker of the House, the Appropriations and Ways & Means Chairmen, and many other Legislators on this issue in particular. They have indicated support for trying to get these fees lifted as a business relief measure and we are working with them on how to get that accomplished given the Legislatures limited meeting schedule due to COVID-19. 

 

We are asking each of you to contact your friends in the Legislature to let them know that the state is still collecting fees and taxes even though you are not operating. We will need your help to get these fees suspended when session resumes. 

 

In addition to suspending the device placement fee, we are also educating these folks on other issues that you may face when we get back open such as staffing issues for restaurants and reduced fuel sales and we are requesting relief in those regards. Please inform them of all of the struggles that you are facing as we are looking into multiple business relief efforts for our industry and we will need to work together to get these measures passed. 

 

The LVGA has invested in a grassroots database system. This system will allow each of you, your family members and your employees to easily send an email or make a phone call to your Legislators. You will be receiving separate correspondence on how to utilize that technology and engage your employees and family. 


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Business Interruption Insurance:
 (March 25, 2020)

Many of you have reached out about business interruption insurance denials. 
 
In discussions with Governor Edwards, the Chairman of both House and Senate insurance committees, and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon on this issue, it appears that there is not much that can be done. 
 
At this time, if you have been issued a denial or been told that your policy does not cover losses as a result of this epidemic, and you (or your attorney) feels that you have been wrongfully denied, we would advise you to file an official complaint with the Louisiana Department of Insurance. 
 
Here is a link to their website where you can file an official electronic complaint: https://www.ldi.la.gov/onlineservices/ConsumerComplaintForm
 
There have been a countless businesses who have been denied and we expect that this will result in a major class action lawsuit. 
 
If any of you would like references to attorneys that we know of who intend on filing such a suit please let us know. 
 
We have also heard from several Legislators who intend on addressing this issue Legislatively to some extent. We will monitor that and inform you of those developments if/when the Legislature returns. 

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For Bar Closures / Delivery Permits click on link below:

https://oneclickpolitics.createsend.com/campaigns/reports/viewCampaign.aspx?d=i&c=5D27E3D75915C4FA&ID=113CDE4C106000CE2540EF23F30FEDED
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For ATC Update on use of credit cards to purchase alcohol, click on link below:

https://oneclickpolitics.createsend.com/campaigns/reports/viewCampaign.aspx?d=i&c=5D27E3D75915C4FA&ID=31AB4533B1C719332540EF23F30FEDED

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Update:     March 25, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE
VIDEO POKER RELIEF EFFORTS
DEVICE OPERATION FEES 
 
Friends, 
 
Alton has had several meetings with the Governor, the Attorney General, the Gaming Control Board, and State Police in regards to video poker device operation fees among other issues. 
 
As you know, there are many fees that Devices Owners pay for the "privilege" of operating video draw poker devices in Louisiana. Among those is the device operation fee of $1,000 per machine per year. 
 
That fee is broken down into quarterly payments of $250 per machine and that fee is assessed in the form of a quarterly sweep of device operation accounts.
 
Given the current situation in which the video poker industry is not allowed to operate devices, it only seems fair that device owners should not have to pay device operation fees. EVERYONE, from the Governor to the Legislators who we have spoken with agree with that. 
 
The Governor, the AG, State Police and the Gaming control board had their attorneys look into ways to temporarily suspend that fee. 
 
Unfortunately, the Governor's emergency powers only give him the authority to override certain laws in times of emergency. 
 
Due to the fact that the state constitution vests the Legislature with the sole authority to levy/revoke/suspend and taxes or fees, there is no mechanism that the Governor can utilize to suspend the device operation fee without Legislative approval. 
 
Please be prepared for the device operation fee to be swept from your account during the quarterly sweep in the first week of April. 
 
We have been in contact with many Legislators about this issue and other ideas that we have to provide some relief to the video poker industry due to the losses that you are suffering.
 
If and when the Legislature returns, we will do everything that we can to get a fee suspension or reduction for the device operation fee. We will also do everything that we can to provide relief in other forms. 
 
At this time, other than a device operation fee suspension/reduction, we are still weighing the options of other Legislative relief measures with stakeholders both on the video poker side and the Legislative side. When we determine what our relief package will consist of we will advise you all. 
 
The Legislature will temporarily reconvene on Tuesday, March 31st as required by law and subsequently adjourn until the end of the Governor's stay at home order, or until further notice. 
 
We will keep you abreast of Legislative developments if and/when they return. 



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The Board Order attached was signed today (3-24-2020) and is effective immediately.  It is self explanatory.

 

Questions should be directed to State Police Gaming Division.

 

Ronnie Jones

Chairman

Louisiana Gaming Control Board

7901 Independence Boulevard

Baton Rouge, Louisiana  70806

225-925-1846

www.lgcb.dps.louisiana.gov