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Some legislators have financial ties to video gaming

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

* There is a lot of sizzle in this piece (the need for video gaming revenue is described as “desperate” even though it’s only projected to be about $90 million next fiscal year, for example), but there is some meat to chew on

With the Illinois General Assembly poised to consider a tax hike on video gambling, some key lawmakers and their family members have developed previously undisclosed financial connections to the industry, meaning the fate of any proposal could lie in part on votes of legislators with a stake in the outcome.

They include two of the General Assembly’s most powerful figures, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, a Republican from Bloomington, and Chicago Democrat Antonio Muñoz, the Senate assistant majority leader, according to Illinois Gaming Board records obtained by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ. […]

Brady is listed in internal gaming board records as a “person with significant influence or control,” or PSIC, for Midwest Electronics Gaming, one of the state’s largest video gambling companies. Midwest, operating primarily in central Illinois, made $16 million from video gambling last year and $80 million between 2012 and 2018.

Brady’s designation as a PSIC means he receives a percentage of the proceeds from video slot and poker machines under a revenue-sharing agreement with Midwest. Although the terms and the locations of the machines are not disclosed, any tax increase on video gambling revenue would have a direct financial impact on him.

Yet required disclosure statements filed with the Illinois Gaming Board and available online do not list Brady as a PSIC. Instead, he’s listed as a sales agent, a middleman who contracts with video gambling operators to sign contracts with bars, restaurants and other alcohol-pouring establishments to install video slot and poker machines.

Sen. Munoz’s son is also a sales agent who works (or worked, it’s not totally clear) for former Sen. Michael Bond’s highly successful video gaming company. Sen. Tom Cullerton is listed as a sales agent for Global Gaming Industries, which only has one small client

In November, the gaming board voted to revoke Global Gaming’s license because of its ties to a man with “an extensive criminal record,” though Global Gaming has continued to operate while it appeals the decision. Separately, Cullerton has been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators seeking records related to an ongoing criminal investigation of Teamsters boss John Coli Sr., who allegedly extorted $100,000 in cash from a local business.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 9:02 am:

    If there aren’t laws in place to prevent this, then there should be. At the very least, this should be publicly available information.

  2. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 9:08 am:

    In 2009, Brady voted against the Video Gaming Act. In July 2016, Brady began working with Midwest Electronics Gaming, one of the state’s largest video gambling companies, as a sales agent. In March 2018, Brady was designated a “person with significant influence or control” for Midwest.

    And some folks don’t think Republicans believe in evolution.

    – MrJM

  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 9:14 am:

    –Instead, he’s (Brady) listed as a sales agent, a middleman who contracts with video gambling operators to sign contracts with bars, restaurants and other alcohol-pouring establishments to install video slot and poker machines.–

    I’m not following. As a sales agent for Midwest, is Brady tooling around bar-to-bar trying to get them to install his machines?

  4. - Been There - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    Well I guess instead of voting no on any video gaming tax increase they will now be forced to recuse themselves and vote present. Which in the end is the same difference.

  5. - Just sayin' - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    This is why no one pays attention to IL GOP whining about the Dems. GOP hands just as dirty. This is unbelievably corrupt. There is no legal defense for what Bill Brady has done here. Or for the others obviously.

  6. - Enemy of the State - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    A great example of why it never ends.

  7. - JAH - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Members are allowed to have outside employment…they just need to disclose it and vote their conscience

  8. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    Gee I wonder why people don’t trust politicians. This should be illegal. I guess the marijuana scam was just too blatant or perhaps she should have stayed in background. “Members are allowed outside income just need to disclose and vote their conscience”. Conscience part is the problem

  9. - GOPgal - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    This is just as corrupt, and very similar to, insider trading in the stock market. Worse I would say because they are public officials.

  10. - SpfdNewb - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    Not like I support NY Gov. Cuomo, but I did agree with him that state legislatures need to become full time bodies. It will help reduce the financial incentive.

  11. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 10:34 am:

    We just can’t seem to get this government thing
    working well in Illinois.

  12. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 11:02 am:

    Illinois legislature either seems to attract the idealistic legislators who tend to be either right-wing or left-wing or the “moderates” who always seem to be the ones getting in trouble and having problems with ethics.

  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 11:11 am:

    Does Bill Brady not know the ILGOP is generally against gambling?

    I would have thought he would have written the memo.

  14. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 12:07 pm:

    Their is something fundamentally wrong about our government structure that let’s these kinds of issues dominate our legislative process.
    I actually thought a constitutional convention would have been a way to deal with the problems the state has in getting it’s act together, but the citizens voted that idea down.
    You would think these legislators would be embarrassed over this. I know- -it’s Illinois, but I just have a hard time getting used to things like this that happen in government.

  15. - Pundent - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    Wasn’t Bill Brady the guy who would only allow reporters a quick peek at his tax returns when he ran for governor? Not saying that this doesn’t happen on the Democrat side as well because it obviously does. But it does illustrate the need for financial disclosures and the release of income tax records when running for state (or countrywide) office.

  16. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    I wonder if the “because Madigan” crowd will even manage even 1/8 of the outrage over Sen. Brady’s obvious use of his elected office to enrich himself.

  17. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 5:01 pm:

    @ThreeDimensionalCheckers - Doesn’t matter who the legislator is. It is wrong to use the office so blatantly to enrich oneself. There should be an ethics investigation into Bill Brady.

  18. - Hughes1967 - Tuesday, May 28, 19 @ 8:48 pm:

    Here we go again expansion of gaming SB516 on 2nd readingshort debate 5/32/19 An ACT concerning gaming maybe its time for the Gov, General Assembly and the Illinois Gaming Board to correct the Video Gaming Act of 2009 before any further movement of gaming expansion in Illinois.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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