Gold Rush scored an early victory in the process against rival VGT Accel

Published on: November 22, 2022, 12:14 p.m.

Last updated: November 22, 2022, 12:14 p.m.

An Illinois judge ruled in favor of Gold Rush Amusements last week in a complex, ongoing legal case the video gaming terminal (VGT) operator has with a competitor in the state.

Gold Rush
A “Gold Rush” billboard appears on Interstate 90 in Illinois. Last week, the company saw its claims upheld in a lawsuit it filed against Accel Entertainment, while an Accel claim for a stake in Gold Rush was rejected. (Image: Gold Rush/Twitter)

Cook County Circuit Judge Patrick J. Sherlock decided to dismiss Accel Entertainment’s case against Gold Rush, while allowing parts of the Gold Rush case to proceed.

The case revolves around two $30 million loans taken out from Accel in July 2019. The loan agreements included options for Accel to convert the loans into a gold stake if the company is unable to repay the loan, even though Accel CEO Andy Rubenstein reportedly assured Gold Rush owner Rick Heidner that the provision would not be enforced.

However, in July 2021, Accel took an ownership stipulation, but the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) rejected the move. This led to Accel suing Gold Rush, and Gold Rush filed a counterclaim, which claimed that Accel refused to provide a payment amount in March of this year and refused a payment of 8.6 million of dollars in July 2021 for the loan.

Gold Rush also alleges that Rubenstein set up a rewards program for Accel sales representatives, giving them incentives to win business away from the owners who hosted the Gold Rush games.

The two lawsuits were consolidated, with Gold Rush and Accel seeking to dismiss at least parts of each other’s case.

Accel’s property claim was thrown out

In its ruling, Sherlock found that Gold Rush did not breach the terms of its agreement with Accel because of the IGB’s decision and dismissed Accel’s case on that count.

The IGB is an independent body tasked with ensuring that the video game community and the general public are protected.” the judge wrote. “He made his independent decision and as a matter of law, Gold Rush cannot honor the term of the contract.”

Sherlock said the companies “could and should have anticipated the possibility” of the board’s action and developed a contingency plan regarding the stake held by Gold Rush.

However, he also gave Accel until December 14 to amend its complaint to recover the loans and interest and gave Gold Rush until January 11 to respond to that complaint.

Additionally, while Sherlock denied Gold Rush’s request for a declaratory judgment, it ruled that Gold Rush could continue to make the case that it deserved damages for interest owed to another creditor because it was prepared to pay the Accel loan.

Accel also has until December 14 to respond to the remaining outlines in the Gold Rush case.

Major Illinois VGT Operators

Sherlock set a status hearing for January 17th.

The trial confronts two large VGT operators. Accel is the largest in the US and Illinois, while Gold Rush, which has 675 locations in Illinois, is the third largest operator in the state.

As of last month, according to IGB data, there were 44,311 VGT machines located in 8,134 establishments in Illinois. Over $2.7 billion was wagered on the machines last month, with the terminals generating $234.6 million in revenue.

IGB reported that nearly $79.8 million in fees were generated last month. The state received $68 million, with the municipalities where the games are located sharing $11.7 million.

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