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Des Plaines wins 10th gaming license

December 23, 2008

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 and Rosemont.

"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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