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TTB Again Targets Pay-to-Play, This Time In Illinois

September 22, 2017

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is continuing its crackdown on so-called “pay-to-play” schemes, this time targeting the Illinois market.

While details are scant, the agency revealed that it partnered this week with Illinois Liquor Control Commission officials to investigate pay-to-play arrangements—otherwise known as slotting fees—in Chicago, the Quad Cities and Peoria.

This is the second major investigation into slotting fees that the TTB has conducted this year. In July, the agency worked with Florida officials to investigate similar schemes in the Miami area.

Tom Hogue, the agency’s director of congressional and public affairs, declined to name the parties in question, but said more information on both the Miami and Illinois investigations would be available in due course.

In a statement, the TTB said the recent crackdown is “part of our ongoing effort to secure a level playing field nationwide for law-abiding businesses.” The agency added that it intends “to ensure that existing industry members and smaller businesses just entering the marketplace can compete based on customer service and consumer preference rather than on their ability to buy shelf space.”—Shane English

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