* Background from the Daily Herald…
The Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin has been sold for $327.5 million.
MGM Resorts International along with its venture partner are selling the casino to Eldorado Resorts.
The cash deal is expected to close within 12 months. […]
The casino, which opened to the public Oct. 6, 1994, was once a bustling venue. However, it has had to contend with competition from Rivers Casino, which opened in 2011 in Des Plaines, and from the video gambling industry.
Grand Victoria Casino posted $168.7 million in revenues last year, up from $163.5 million in 2016, according to data from the Illinois Gaming Board. The casino’s revenues steadily declined since 2007, when they reached a peak of $436.7 million.
Pritzker’s billionaire family has held financial interests in casinos for decades. He now invests in a company that holds a roughly one percent stake in the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, according to financial disclosures and his campaign.
That means Pritzker could reap nearly $3.27 million from the potential $327.5 million sale of the northwest suburban casino to a Reno, Nev.-based gambling company called Eldorado Resorts, Inc. The deal announced this week still requires Illinois Gaming Board approval.
If the deal goes through by the end of 2018, as planned, the transaction eliminates a thorny conflict for Pritzker should he win.
But if the deal collapses or hits a snag and Pritzker is elected in November, he could run into ethical conflicts once he takes office in January. That’s because governors have the authority to appoint members to the state Gaming Board that regulates casinos, and he’d inevitably be drawn into perennial discussions at the statehouse about gambling expansion that could impact his investment.
Such a scenario would make Pritzker the first known Illinois governor to hold an interest in a state casino license. […]
“If elected, JB will divest from any asset he personally owns that does business with the state of Illinois or would receive any kind of government benefit from the state,” [Pritzker spokeswoman Galia Slayen] wrote.
This is a topic I hadn’t really given much thought to over the months. If elected, he’ll appoint Gaming Board members and will undoubtedly have to deal with the gaming issue.
So he’s wise to get rid of that ownership interest, even if it is only 1 percent of the Elgin casino (and his $3.27 million “windfall” is less than a thousandth of his reported net worth). If the sale hits a snag, he’ll have to come up with a new strategy to avoid any appearance of conflict or an actual conflict.
Your thoughts on this?