September 22, 2016

Chicago-based law firm Much Shelist announced today that it has secured a victory in the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf its client Accel Entertainment, the state’s largest video gaming terminal operator. In J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC, et al. v. Wild, Inc. (Accel Entertainment Gaming LLC et al.), one of Accel’s competitors claimed superior rights to operate video gaming equipment in approximately 90 establishments where the Illinois Gaming Board had determined that Accel’s contract was the valid contract. Justice Charles E. Freeman delivered the judgment of the court on September 22, 2016, affirming the validity of Accel’s existing location contracts as previously approved by the Illinois Gaming Board. 

The Illinois Supreme Court’s decision determined that circuit courts do not have subject-matter-jurisdiction over “whether location agreements between the plaintiffs and defendants are valid and enforceable contracts that control the placement of video gaming terminals in defendants’ establishments.” The judgment nullifies existing precedent by establishing that this jurisdiction, in fact, lies exclusively with the Illinois Gaming Board, per the Video Gaming Act, which was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in July 2009. Further, in its opinion, the Court embraced the rationale put forth by Accel as to why other contracts entered by the plaintiffs in this case were invalid.

“Within the video gaming industry, this case has significant implications with respect to the priority and validity of contracts,” said Steven P. Blonder, Principal in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice group at Much Shelist.

Other Much Shelist attorneys supporting the case included Principal Joanne A. Sarasin and Associate Marissa L. Downs, with input and assistance from Principal Jeffrey C. Rubenstein.