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AG shoots down casino

May 12, 2004

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Adding a 10th casino in Illinois hit another roadblock Tuesday (May 11) when the state's attorney general said she was withdrawing her support for the transfer of the license. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he wants to build a city-owned land-based casino in the Windy City.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan rejected the Illinois Gaming Board's 4-1 vote to allow bankrupt Emerald Isle Casino to sell its license to Isle Of Capri Casinos. According to published reports, Madigan cited several reasons for her decision. She said the gaming board never explained its reasons for selecting the community of Rosemont and Isle Of Capri Casinos over its own staff recommendation of Midwest Gaming & Entertainment in Des Plains. Madigan also expressed concerns over alleged mob ties involving Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens and the financial stability of Isle Of Capri. "Unfortunately, in the bidding process, the Illinois Gaming Board appeared to ignore key criteria in assessing the bids," Madigan said in a news conference Tuesday.

Madigan's decision is critical because she needs to sign off on legal settlements. Emerald's investors and creditors are anxiously waiting for the sale of the license to go through so they can be repaid.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has launched an effort to pass legislation in Springfield that would allow Chicago to own a land-based casino. The nine current casinos in the state are privately owned.

"The rest of Illinois already has gaming. Why shouldn't Chicago?" Daley said. "Money would go to build more libraries, police and fire facilities, additional improvement for the shoreline of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River."

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, however, is against the mayor's plan and said he would veto any such legislation. "I oppose it because when it comes to the state budget, there are no quick fixes," Blagojevich told the Associated Press. "It's not my vision for the kind of state Illinois Should be."
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