SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
After prodding by Bluhm, Emanuel pushed against racinos

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017

* From the BGA

In the months leading up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 re-election, members of the family that controls Illinois’ most successful casino gave $300,000 to his campaign. Just five days into Emanuel’s second term, Rivers Casino chairman Neil Bluhm called in a request.

Among emails obtained recently from Emanuel’s personal account by the Better Government Association is one sent to the mayor written by his deputy Steve Koch on May 23, 2015, relating a phone conversation with Bluhm.

“Spoke to Neil Bluhm,” Koch wrote. “he (sic) was calling to make sure we are as opposed to table games at racetracks as he is. I assured he (sic) we are adamantly opposed.” […]

That communication took place one day after a report in The Daily Herald about a push in Springfield to expand casino style gambling to racetracks like Arlington Park. Such a move, had it succeeded, would have posed a competitive threat to nearby Rivers in Des Plaines. […]

Bluhm’s call to the deputy mayor prompted this email response from then chief City Hall lobbyist Michael Rendina: “We will need to call [state senate president John] Cullerton and ask that he keep them (table games at tracks) out of the bill.”

Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath dismissed the importance of the Bluhm interaction, noting that city and Rivers had a common cause in opposing the threat of turning racetracks into casinos.

“We had the same position on table gaming because he was worried they would eat into the profits of his casino and we were worried they would eat into the profits of a possible Chicago casino,” said McGrath. “We didn’t need a reminder from Mr. Bluhm that this was something to be opposed.”

Spokesman Dennis Culloton said that Bluhm, a registered lobbyist for Rivers, alerted the city that the racetrack measure was afoot “to make sure the city reviewed the negative impact that table games at the tracks would have on gaming revenues to the city. As two major stakeholders in this potential legislation, this conversation was entirely appropriate and in the interest of the city.”

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - oldman - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    The tracks don’t need table games, but they do need slots. This has been done in other states, revitalizing the racing industry, increasing purses and attracting better racing. Should have been done years ago. You can play slots in many of the otb sites. Confession: I am an occasional $2 bettor

  2. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    Wait, you’re telling me wealthy interests attempt to use government to block competition and lock in their advantages using a direct line to politicians?

  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    –“We had the same position on table gaming because he was worried they would eat into the profits of his casino and we were worried they would eat into the profits of a possible Chicago casino,” said McGrath. –

    Uh huh. The magical, mystical Chicago casino. I’m sure Bluhm is all for that competition.

    –“We didn’t need a reminder from Mr. Bluhm that this was something to be opposed.” –

    After a $300K contribution, I would hope not.

    And did they discuss how the continuing absence of slots at Chicago taverns bumps up Bluhm’s profits, while depriving neighborhood businesses and the city of a new revenue stream?

    I wonder if Emanuel’s crew would jump to take the calls of Chicago tavern owners who have that question?

  4. - Tron - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    LOL, Rahm’s opposition to slots and table games at the tracks may be just the boost the tracks need to make it happen.

  5. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Seems like a reasonable explanation. But I don’t trust that Rahm would have shared with BGA the emails that would be more embarrassing to him.

  6. - northsider (the original) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    When government and gambling interests combine, whether racing or casinos, NOBODY has clean hands.

    I’d give the historical edge on impropriety to the tracks since two governors were convicted because of their cozy relationships with racetrack owners.

  7. - Horses Mouth - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    From those of us on the side of putting racinos at the tracks this is no surprise. It just connected the dots we knew existed. The worst part was when you knew both Chicago and Bluhms people were not telling the truth when they would tell you they were not the problem. Much like when Rauner says his is not involved

  8. - Stringer Bell - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    If we’re expanding gambling, let’s add online poker to the mix. Could be more tax revenue for the state.

  9. - Montrose - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    This sounds like a pretty standard conversation lobbyists have with decision makers. It makes sense that Chicago would not want games at casinos. Yeah, Bluhm got easy access to Koch because of his money. Ok. I just don’t see much here here.

    I’m no Rahm booster. I am guessing they will come across something that shows the city took a position solely because it benefited a big donor. This example just isn’t it.

  10. - walker - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Nothing unexpected here.

    The mistake would be to assume that Bluhm and his multiple lobbyists would not attack a Chicago casino big time. These are no way natural allies.

  11. - Oh, Please! - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    BGA has limited credibility on influence buying from donors.

    Surprised that two years have passed without one serious “investigation” into any Rauner activity?

    Me neither.

  12. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    =Surprised that two years have passed without one serious “investigation” into any Rauner activity?==

  13. - Square Circle - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Hmmm. I remember when Rahm’s erstwhile friend, Rod Blagojevich, tried to get cozy with a race track owner, and, after some horse trading, the former governor was ready to sign some horse racing friendly legislation after soliciting a large contribution from the race track owner. US Attorney Peter Fitzgerald cried foul.

    If it was wrong for Blagojevich to do this, why is okay for Emanuel? Oh, okay. It was really about the US Senate seat. Who was one of those calling Blagojevich about the vacancy? Oh, that would be Rahm.

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 1:32 pm:

    –Who was one of those calling Blagojevich about the vacancy? Oh, that would be Rahm.–

    The White House Chief of Staff-designate was dancing way too close to the flame on that one. Taped conversations can be so easily misinterpreted by the FBI.

    Emanuel’s goofiness got Obama deposed by the FBI even before he took office. That’s dangerous for anyone.

  15. - Tron - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Not having slots and table games at the tracks is goofy. It’s like telling a casino they can have roulette but not blackjack. Why force them to limit their product offerings to their customers? In a bunch of other states, they already have expanded gaming at the tracks. You can play poker or slots or whatever while waiting for the next race to off.

  16. - Blinkers Off - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 2:54 pm:


    Complete agreement with your sentiments. Illinois now has a grand total of three race tracks in operation (not including special racing events held in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair) on radically condensed schedules.

    Arlington Park, Hawthorne and Fairmont are running on empty and the General Assembly has been ignoring reality for years. Race tracks in other states have slot machines and these profits are used to sweeten the horse racing purses. This is why so few named horses and trainers visit Illinois any longer.

    The stables will be emptied and the horse trailers will drive away unless the legislature acts. Illinois is only about twenty years behind other states in this regard.

  17. - Signal and Noise - Tuesday, Jan 10, 17 @ 4:25 pm:

    Sheesh. Seems like every time this cash-starved state has a way to make some money through expanded gaming, Blume is there to block it with a pile of cash. I get the guy wants to protect his interests, but at what point does the broader interest win out?

TrackBack URI

Post your comment... And please take a half second to come up with a nickname. It makes following the posts easier for everyone... Thanks

In other words, do your best to be civilized and smart.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Summers compares Trump to Rauner
* New White House website references "thousands of shootings in Chicago"
* Let's try cashing in on our rich heritage
* And now for a little bit of good news
* Unemployment up, jobs down
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 - Kirk declined to fly with Obama *** Kirk won't stop saying goofy things
* Um... about that "fully funded" boast
* Cullerton, Radogno "playing coy" about tax hike percentage
* "Institute" ginning up opposition to Senate deal
* A SOTS preview?
* IDOT warns of doom for I-55 toll lanes
* Is the end near for legislator pensions?
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...





Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Sonos wants to integrate voice assistants into its speaker lineup
* [TA Deals] Master data science and analytics with this bundle for less than $50
* T-Mobile Tuesday for two
* Best cloud storage apps
* New images suggest fourth physical button present on Samsung Galaxy S8
* Three prospective Xiaomi Mi 6 versions detailed by insiders, including dual-edged Premier
* LifeProof Debuts Slimmer NUUD Case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

* Dominican Republic academy re-opens with upgrades
* Dominican Republic academy re-opens with upgrades
* New Hall of Famers reflect on highest honor
* Fans will be able to stream live games in '17
* New Hall of Famers get their close-up
* Williams says Hall not just for 'all-time greats'
* Collins named fourth-best catching prospect in MLB


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vot.....
* Republicans revive plans to sell Thompson Cente.....
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vot.....

* EXCHANGE: Arcola man armed and ready to rumble
* EXCHANGE: Church moves from Freeport into historic building
* Illinois State Police warning people about a phone scam
* Alleged Chicago-area drug dealer sentenced in armed robbery
* Chicago police: Off-duty Robbins officer fatally shot robber
* Michigan says 38 underperforming public schools could close
* Inauguration protesters gather in downtown Chicago
* Illinois governor extends tax incentive program
* 4 plead not guilty to fraud charges in Rockford
* Illinois governor extends tax incentive program

* Governor extends tax incentive program
* Schock case reassigned to Urbana's Judge Colin Bruce
* Background-checks policy leads U of I to withdraw 11 job offers
* Film industry generates half-billion in Illinois spending
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vote Wednesday
* Jesse White wants ads on license plate renewal reminders to offset cost
* A new tax on sodas, sugary drinks? It might be part of Illinois budget deal
* Jesse White wants ads on license renewal reminders to offset cost
* Jesse White wants advertisements on license renewal reminders to help offset cost
* New state app aims to help students with career choices

* Obama's roots a reminder that ambition can be a grand thing
* Trump's promise: He'll make America great again ​
* What's so hard about assembling a restaurant team? Everything.
* Insurers moving to former Zurich HQ in Schaumburg
* Deceased lawyer was known for stadium deals

* 1 injured in Elgin house fire
* FBI: Bank robber threatened to bomb West Side PNC branch
* Missing man, 80, last seen driving in Austin
* Man shot in Chatham drive-by
* Six arrested in anti-Trump protests in Chicago Loop
* Woman shot during argument in South Chicago
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Jan. 21, 2017
* Dear Abby: Friend from childhood isn’t friendly as a teen
* 16-year-old boy charged with sexual assault
* Manziel says he’s sober, ready to play football again

* Aaron Rodgers' playoff wizardry for Packers makes Chicago green with envy
* Cubs slugger Kris Bryant looks opposite way to improve lofty numbers
* Interior Department banned from Twitter after retweet of Trump inauguration crowd
* Officer, pregnant woman killed in New Orleans suburb; suspect critical after shooting self
* 7 wounded in shootings on West, South sides
* At anti-Trump protests in Chicago, a 'wall of human resistance'
* Trump takes office as America's assertive but untested 45th president
* On the Air
* Trump inauguration protests
* Inauguration Day protests in Chicago

The widget AQL4JYGHIY powered by Feed Informer does not exist.

* Guest Column: Put politics aside and pass a state budget
* Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s self-revealing final act
* Governor extends tax incentive program
* Schock case reassigned to Urbana's Judge Colin Bruce
* Background-checks policy leads U of I to withdraw 11 job offers
* Film industry generates half-billion in Illinois spending
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vote Wednesday
* Jesse White wants ads on license plate renewal reminders to offset cost
* Our View: Thumbs Up to a finished Route 29 project
* A new tax on sodas, sugary drinks? It might be part of Illinois budget deal

* Jerry Seibert
* Lenora Kelley
* Cecile Crawshaw
* Terry Flood
* Elhart Oetjen
* Elsie Holley
* Betty Gimber
* Nancy Gordon
* William Hughes Jr.
* Raymond Broeking

* Hundreds opposed to Trump march in Chicago
* Trump executive order first strike at ending 'Obamacare'
* Gobert 27 points, 25 rebounds in Jazz 112-107 OT win at Mavs
* No. 10 Stanford runs home win streak against Arizona to 15
* Images: Benet Academy vs. Marist girls basketball

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Hampton selected as Senate Page - Quad-Cit......
* Efforts to restrict H-1B visa gather pace ......

* Ex-Sen. Kirk may become lobbyist, complain......

* Fantasies always predominate in political people’s mentalities
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Last night on WGN. Talking peace and justice.
* Tony at the Red Line.
* New Illinois Laws Remove Employment Barriers for People with Criminal Records
* Where's Weyermuller? Marching with life lovers in Chicago
* Trumps go to Washington
* Di Leo: Sergeant York and the Affordable Care Act
* Schakowsky: Trump's hateful rhetoric will now live in White House
* Pension theft. From the west suburban front.

* New Authority Allows DCFS to Strengthen and Preserve Families - Federal waiver grants DCFS flexibility to better care for fostered youth
* Illinois Film Industry Generates $499 Million in 2016 - Chicago named #5 Best Place to Live and Work as a Moviemaker
* State Announces Free Tax Preparation for Low Income Families
* Governor Announces Appointments
* Governor Takes Bill Action

      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller