Vice Squad
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Illinois Casino License

The saga of the state of Illinois' ill-fated tenth casino license continues. On Monday afternoon, the five members of the Illinois Gaming Board announced their 4-1 decision to award the license to Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., which bid to place the casino in Rosemont, a Chicago suburb next to O'Hare airport. The license is available because the current holder of the license, Emerald Casino, never actually was allowed to open their proposed Rosemont casino, amid allegations of organized crime infiltration. As the in-bankruptcy Emerald still owns the license, the award to Isle of Capri is far from final: not only does the bankruptcy court have to agree to the sale, the transfer could meet a legal challenge from the Attorney General of Illinois. The award of the license to Isle of Capri is particularly controversial because of its Rosemont connection, and because the staff of the Gaming Board had recommended that the license be awarded to a different, non-Rosemont bidder. I find this politically-charged soap opera to be rather tiresome, but readers with stronger stomachs can learn more from two articles (here and here) from today's Chicago Tribune (registration required), as well as this Trib editorial and especially this op-ed column by Carol Marin, entitled "A Scam, a Sham and a State's Shame."

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