Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » After prodding by Bluhm, Emanuel pushed against racinos
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?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Memorial Day on social media
* It's just a bill
* Get in the game or go home
* "Right To Know" Is Wrong For Illinois. Vote No On SB1502
* *** UPDATED x3 - Madigan office begs to differ - Rauner: Not enough *** Madigan crows about procurement bill passage, urges Rauner to negotiate budget with HDems
* This Is Illinois
* Unclear on the concept
* Today's number: $484.5 million
* Board of Elections promotes doomsday scenario over $9,000 bill
* Civic Federation defends Civic Committee against Tribune attack
* HDems take tax hike bill away from Rep. Ives
* A closer look at the GOMB memo
* House Dems still can't find enough support for their own budget
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...










* Superintendents to Call For Full Budget in Spri.....
* *** UPDATED x3 - Madigan office begs to differ .....
* Our View: Are Democratic candidates for governo.....
* House moves Rauner/Madigan-Backed procurement r.....
* Automatic voter registration bill passes Illino.....
* The Latest: Illinois House approves TRUST act f.....
* Chicago-Area Mayor Joins Rauner Push for Proper.....

* The Latest: Illinois House OK's state purchasing changes
* Military vets hope 74-hour baseball game breaks world record
* Arrest made in slaying of Illinois man in Wisconsin
* Holiday weekend shooting kills 15-year-old Chicago boy
* Illinois Legislature OK's automatic-voter registration
* Superintendents to call for full budget in Springfield
* Chicago-area mayor joins Rauner push for property tax freeze
* Fewer grads from public medical schools staying in Illinois
* Fewer grads from public medical schools staying in Illinois
* Springfield police blame 2 rival groups for shootings

* Illinois legislature OKs automatic-voter registration
* Superintendents to call for full budget in Springfield
* Odds against Springfield casino after amendment blocked
* All options remain on table as budget talks continue
* Illinois farmers may soon be growing industrial hemp
* U of Illinois trustees' retreat to address free speech
* Big retirement payouts tiny part of big pension mess
* Big pensions tiny part of big pension mess
* Senate approves workers' comp changes
* Push for downtown Springfield casino taking shape

* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* The place where media pain hurts most: Springfield
* For the GOP, it's all about the Benjamins
* Online lender Avant's reboot still hasn't yielded profit
* Mike Keiser knows where golf is alive and well. (It's not Illinois)

* 30-year-old man dies more than a week after shooting in Lawndale
* 2 people shot in Elgin
* AP exclusive: Suspected drug thefts persist at VA centers
* 41-year-old man shot in Canaryville
* Cabrera homers, has go-ahead single as White Sox slip past Boston 5-4
* Cubs bring in Chicago’s top chefs to redesign ballpark cuisine
* President Barack Obama library’s real estate buzz
* 16-year-old girl missing from South Shore
* Police: 52-year-old man killed in Austin domestic shooting
* Man, 42, shot in West Town

* All aboard: Joliet Rocket steamin' into town
* Cheap out: Five fun things to do for free
* Quigley says Russia probe is 'in its infancy'
* Oak Lawn woman who lost fiance to Vietnam, never wed mourns on Memorial Day
* Red Sox not fretting over dealing potential stars to White Sox for Chris Sale
* Monday shootings leave 3 dead after domestic incidents
* Venus Williams looking for first French Open title in 20th appearance
* This is what Betsy DeVos thinks about people who oppose her school-choice vision
* Cubs lead Padres 2-0 in 4th
* Snubs and slights are part of the job in Trump's White House

» Illinois Budget Fight Could Affect 2018 Elections
» New Lawsuit Accuses Imprisoned Former Speaker Of Sex Assault
» 17-Month Old Semaj Crosby’s Death Linked To Systemic, Family Failures
» 17-Month-Old Semaj Crosby’s Death Linked To Systemic, Family Failures
» Senate Passes Workers' Compensation Bills — Most Republicans Reject It
» State Week: Tax Hike Getting Cold Shoulder
» Popular Music Store Finds New Home On Navy Pier
» For West Side Students, Playing Outside Is Protesting Against Gun Violence
» Offline And On Paper: Chicago Teens Make Zines In An Ephemeral World
» Judge Refuses To Dismiss Murder Case Against Chicago Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald

* Illinois legislature OKs automatic-voter registration
* Superintendents to call for full budget in Springfield
* Odds against Springfield casino after amendment blocked
* All options remain on table as budget talks continue
* Illinois farmers may soon be growing industrial hemp
* Our View: Remember the reason for Memorial Day
* Responsible Budget Coalition: Illinois needs revenue to thrive
* George Will: How to restore American self-reliance
* U of Illinois trustees' retreat to address free speech
* Bernard Schoenburg: Lawmakers taking heat, but is a charity announcement so bad?

* Moline man hits light pole, faces four misdemeanor charges
* 'They are our best and brightest': Memorial Day observances at Rock Island National Cemetery
* Belleville man charged in Family Dollar armed robberies
* Cubbie Conversation, May 29, 2017
* Rodgers: Community support 'restores your hope in the human spirit'
* Sights and sounds from Belleville's 2017 Memorial Day Parade
* O’Fallon honors fallen heroes at Memorial Day ceremony
* Royal Lakes clerk, 4 trustees abruptly resign in wake of election
* O’Fallon, Shiloh students graduate from SIUE
* O’Fallon women win awards at SWIC art show

* Cabrera's 4 RBI lift White Sox past Red Sox
* Budget talk in Island Lake
* Palatine parks co-hosting fishing derby:
* Inaugural Fox Lake Sprint Triathlon
* Arlington Heights bike plan open house Thursday

* Teacher raised in Yorkville running agains...
* Protesters continue die-in at U.S. Rep. Ra...
* Jim Walz Will Challenge Randy Hultgren for...
* PHOTOS: Protesters stage die-in at Randy H...
* U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren's office the scen...
* Second Democrat announces bid to unseat Hu...
* Sweet: Hultgren, Roskam, Kinzinger avoid b...
* Local Republicans, Democrats praise appoin...
* Dems shift financial debate to spotlight T...
* Batavia resident announces candidacy for 1...

* Trump says he favors more money for health......

* 'Inexcusable:' Durbin, Duckworth slam HUD ......

* EXTRA: How time passes
* The Weekend In Chicago Rock
* The wheels of justice turn slowly for Laquan McDonald. Nearly three years and counting.
* In Jefferson Park the opposition isn’t about density. Here is a test about the issue of density: What ward do the richest people in Chicago live in and how does it compare in density to the ward where the poorest people in Chicago live?
* Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre. Chicago. 1937.
* Chicago is a union town, charter schools are no exception.
* HB 2808 will do to the rest of the state’s special education what already happens in Chicago.
* Pie & Brand: Hate, Anger, Violence & Carrying On
* TrackNotes: Clouds Over The Preakness
* Losers!

* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Join Talk Android as a writer!
* LG working with Qualcomm on Snapdragon 845 for LG G7
* Join Talk Android as its assistant video editor!
* Apple Neural Engine will put AI to facial, speech recognition
* Latest OnePlus 5 teaser asks you to decide which picture is from the 2017 flagship
* LG and Qualcomm working to get Snapdragon 845 on G7
* [Video] Unboxing the Honor 6X

* Late rally gives White Sox edge over Red Sox
* Sale's next opponent knows his best the best
* 2 White Sox make Prospect Team of the Week
* Sale 'appreciative' of White Sox tenure
* Shields working toward Minor League start
* Sale 'appreciative' of White Sox tenure
* White Sox call on Holmberg vs. Boston, Price

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
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

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