* 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.