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

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* AFSCME to announce strike authorization vote results tomorrow morning
* HGOPs fight back against Dem messaging on Rauner budget
* The appearance of access
* Today's number: $12,401,195,168.60
* It's just a bill
* Question of the day
* STI death rates on the rise here, but we're way down the list
* Local reaction to new immigration order
* *** LIVE *** House session coverage
* Is a sales tax on food really regressive?
* *** UPDATED x1 *** 14 of 16 CPS Latino Advisory Committee members resign in protest
* Not surprisingly, local governments hate permanent property tax freeze idea
* *** UPDATED x1 *** SIU's Dunn: "We need to acknowledge that FY16 is now lost"
* Mystery solved on Rauner's whereabouts
* Would term limits make much of a difference?
* Study looks at how race of prez delegates may influence GOP primary voters here
* Kennedy fundraises off of proposed budget cuts
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...







* Dan Brady: Current year spending plan before FY.....
* STATE AFFAIRS: Fiscal follies continue as Illin.....
* NFLPA Tells Free Agents to Avoid Bears - The Ka.....
* State pharmacy lobby fights stricter regulation..
* Bernard Schoenburg: Duckworth in weekly address.....
* Sneed: Gov and family spend his birthday skiing.....
* Chris Kennedy joins race for Illinois governor .....
* Rauner assures gathering that he will persist w.....
* Sneed: Gov and family spend his birthday skiing.....

* Immigrants fearing deportation under Trump change routines
* Chicago schools take a stand on immigration enforcement
* Durbin prompts medical, dental schools to combat drug crisis
* 2 plans to name Illinois highways for Obama in the works
* University of Illinois kicks off 150th birthday celebration
* Hastert victim again argues for remainder of hush money
* Republicans who won after rowdy town halls now avoiding them
* Not-for-profit owner pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud
* Not-for-profit owner pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud
* Experts: Science behind 'abortion reversal' is flawed

* Hastert victim again argues for remainder of hush money
* AFSCME will announce results of strike-authorization vote Thursday
* Senate urged to leave state's PE requirements alone
* Luciano: State lawmakers fiddling while Illinois burns
* Illinois education board vote settles 2008 funding lawsuit
* Municipal League opposed to permanent property tax freeze
* Illinois State University seeks public input on its future
* AFSCME strike authorization vote outcome to be revealed this week
* Cheri Bustos won't run for Illinois governor
* Illinois bill would rein in pro athletes' worker comp claims

* How Illinois lawmakers have gamed their pensions
* These legislators collect paychecks from Washington—and pensions from Illinois
* Rep. Gutierrez hits Trump's 'attrition through terror'
* Many Fed officials see rate hike 'fairly soon'
* Latino revolt hits CPS

* Dear Abby: Needy nephew should get help, get out
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Feb. 23, 2017
* CPD: 7 killed in city’s deadliest day of shootings this year
* Police: 2 shot dead in Chatham
* Nominee Michael Shannon braces for a ‘mind-blowing’ Oscar night
* 1 hurt in West Side shooting
* Man in serious condition after Calumet Heights shooting
* Police: Man gunned down in Brainerd
* Police: Man fatally shot in Morgan Park, person questioned
* DePaul snaps 10-game skid with 67-65 win over Georgetown

* Winning Powerball ticket for $435 million jackpot sold in Indiana
* Local educators say transgender policies won't change after Trump rollback
* Sam Thornton, Kiko Maso continue to shine on offense in Northridge win
* DNC race remains tight as Democrats seek to turn protests against Trump into wins
* 6 dead, 5 wounded in Chicago shootings
* Chinese Basketball Association elects Yao Ming as president
* No. 22 Butler rallies to stun No. 2 Villanova; Syracuse shocks No. 10 Duke
* No. 5 Fremd holds off No. 12 Prospect for MSL title, undefeated regular season
* All's quiet on Butler trade front with deadline at 2 p.m. Thursday
* Bulls' Dwyane Wade on track to return from wrist injury

» Illinois Issues: The Great Pension Chasm
» 16 Latino Leaders Resign From Chicago Public Schools Advisory Panel
» Teachers At Chicago Charter School Vote To Authorize A Strike
» City Council Delays Vote On Street Performing Ordinance
» Retired Generals Oppose Grand Bargain's Lower Phys Ed Standards
» Emanuel Reworks Plan For $15M Tax Rebate Money
» Immigrants Change Up Their Routines, Brace For Arrest
» Illinois Budget Impasse Jeopardizes Hundreds Of Student Jobs At Northeastern Illinois University
» State Board Of Education To Adjust How It Distributes Money
» New Immigration Enforcement Policies Worry Some Chicago Attorneys

* Bernard Schoenburg: Duckworth in weekly address: Trump record 'abysmal'
* Hastert victim again argues for remainder of hush money
* Our View: TIF doesn't stand for 'Take It Freely'
* AFSCME will announce results of strike-authorization vote Thursday
* Senate urged to leave state's PE requirements alone
* Our View: TIFs can't become the go-to bailout fund
* Luciano: State lawmakers fiddling while Illinois burns
* Illinois education board vote settles 2008 funding lawsuit
* Municipal League opposed to permanent property tax freeze
* E.J. Dionne: The death of a hero

* Illinois Lottery
* Lyric Theatre at Illinois: Viva Verdi
* Films remain in spotlight ahead of Oscar
* Fling: Entertainment briefs
* Slammed by the flu, businesses scramble to get work done
* Symphony to showcase region’s emerging talent
* Hawks shock North Greene
* Movie review: ‘A United Kingdom’ is first ‘must see’ of the year
* Regional roundup: Dawson beats buzzer, Rockets
* Reifsteck brothers trigger turnaround

* Lake County Board chairman chooses diversity event to reveal he's gay
* Silver Alert issued for man last seen in McHenry
* Silver Alert issued for man last seen in Glendale Heights
* Images: Stevenson vs. Warren boys basketball
* Chicago Bulls return to work as trade deadline looms

* Rep. Hultgren visits Aurora Textiles plant...
* US Congressman tours new Aurora Specialty ...
* Letter: Same insurance as Congress? - Kend...
* Majority of IL Congressional Delegation Op...
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...
* US Representative Randy Hultgren visits ne...
* Hultgren to participate in veterans forum ...
* Hultgren criticizes immigration ban, Roska...
* Rep. Hultgren visits Aurora Textiles plant...
* Hultgren guides STEM scholars through pres...

* Durbin Prompts Medical, Dental Schools to ......
* Durbin prompts medical, dental schools to ......
* Durbin prompts medical, dental schools to ......

* Bernard Schoenburg: Duckworth in weekly ad......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Feds need a warrant to get into public schools; what’s wrong with that idea?
* Ammendola appointed to countywide McGinnis vacancy
* ThemPeople draw from Chicago’s close-knit hip-hop scene for two new tracks inspired by TV
* Nintendo’s new console Switch works best when it takes the video out of video games
* Federal investigation shows Pakistani bros secretly took $100k from Iraqi source
* Hinz: Chicago's leaders are to blame for Seaway Bank's failure
* Forty-fives go mobile on the gig poster of the week
* The OnEdge experimental performance series questions traditional theatrical norms
* Retired military leaders express concern over effort to lower Illinois PE requirements

* Governor Addresses State Board of Education to Emphasize Importance of Strong Accountability Standards
* Stars and Legends to Perform at 2017 Illinois State Fair - First Round of Grandstand Headliners Announced for Springfield Fair
* Earthquake Education Kiosk Unveiled at University Mall in Carbondale - IEMA, Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium project will help southern Illinois residents reduce damage, injuries from earthquakes
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* 2017 Budget Address

* India’s top mobile operator Airtel is buying smaller rival Telenor
* Verizon 5G pilot tests commence in 11 markets this year
* LG Display hyped about iPhone 7s LCD orders
* Another evleaks scoop on Galaxy S8+ specs
* LTE-U to launch this spring on the T-Mobile network
* Leaked materials show Samsung Galaxy S8+ specs
* [Deal] T-Mobile is running an unbelievable sale on the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, LG V20

* Holland brings loose, fun personality to White Sox clubhouse
* Holy Holland! Pitcher brings fun to White Sox clubhouse
* Frazier to miss several days of camp with sore side
* Geo Soto, Gio Soto share bond beyond name
* Giolito feels work from offseason paying off early in camp
* White Sox earn praise for reshaping club
* Giolito feels work from offseason paying off early in camp

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

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