SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- As reported by the Chicago Tribune: "Illinois gambling
regulators on Monday chose the lowest bidder among three finalists for the
state's only unused casino license, saying the company that plans to build in
Des Plaines didn't raise the ethical concerns posed by finalists for Waukegan
"Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC beat out its competitors on a 3-1 vote of
the five-member Illinois Gaming Board. Panel member Eugene Winkler refused to
vote because he said he was not convinced that any of the finalists deserved
permission to operate slot machines and betting tables.
"...The recent corruption arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich cast a new pall over a
selection process that has been mired in controversy for more than a decade,
when the license was last used. Questions about ties between the Waukegan bidder
and Blagojevich fundraisers helped sink that plan, and investors in Rosemont
could not overcome concerns about mob influence in the village that helped
derail two previous attempts to open there.
"Once viewed as a cash cow that could fetch more than half a billion dollars,
the license will tentatively go to a company that offered a total of $125
million once the doors open and an additional $300 million to be paid over the
course of 30 years.
"But the question of when Midwest Gaming would open the casino is far from
certain. The company still faces another six months to a year of vetting by
regulators before construction would begin, with the casino and parking garage
slated for completion 15 months after that..."
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