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Gaming, gaming, gaming

Friday, Jan 31, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Three decades ago, it became the first casino to open in Illinois. Now, it’s the first to apply to open a sportsbook.

Illinois Gaming Board officials on Thursday announced the Argosy Casino Alton submitted its sports betting license application Jan. 23, putting it first in line to offer sports betting once state regulators finish vetting bids and hand out licenses.

Two other casinos applied the next day: the Grand Victoria in Elgin and Rivers in Des Plaines. […]

All 10 existing Illinois casinos and three horse racing tracks are eligible to apply, plus up to seven large sports venues such as the United Center and Guaranteed Rate Field, and, eventually, the holders of six new casino licenses that also were created as part of the state gaming expansion signed into law last summer by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

* Tribune

They won’t be ready by Super Bowl Sunday, but it’s a good bet the first Illinois sports books will be open by March Madness. […]

Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat who helped craft the state’s sports betting legislation, said the three casinos that have filed their applications “have the best chance” of being ready for the Final Four.

“There’s a healthy dose of optimism that they’ll be able to make a bet by March Madness,” Zalewski said Thursday. “That’s a reasonable goal given where we are on the timeline.”

Rivers Casino got a head start on the process when it opened BetRivers SportsBar in December, with 32 leather lounge chairs, a 47-foot-wide video wall topped by a sports ticker and five betting windows.

* NBC 5

The complex sports gambling bill drew attention from all corners of the political world—calling for slots at O’Hare and Midway airports, along with horse racetracks.

Paging Mayor Lightfoot. Paging Mayor Lightfoot. Those still-untapped revenues could help spruce up your airports.

* Meanwhile, in Danville

Haven Gaming Attorney Scott Sypolt said any time there are changes, they must go before the gaming board. Sypolt called the changes “minor tweaks” and said their goal is to “include as many minorities and women as possible” for the Danville casino ownership.

He said it’s “mostly middle-aged, balding white men” who own casinos.

Sypolt, who is Native American, said the goal is to really get to 25 percent women and minority equity owners. They are bringing in more minorities in terms of vendors and the equity piece, he said. […]

Another issue across the border in Indiana is the race to see if a Danville or Terre Haute, Ind., casino opens first, but the Indiana casino has been put on hold due to an investigation into a firm that worked with Terre Haute’s chosen casino operator possibly violating campaign finance rules.

* Sun-Times

State gambling regulators on Thursday dealt Matteson village officials a fresh hand in their bid for a coveted new south suburban casino license after residents in neighboring Frankfort railed against the initial proposed location.

The development team vying for the license will instead aim to set up shop at the shuttered Lincoln Mall at Lincoln Highway and Cicero Avenue in Matteson, after the Illinois Gaming Board voted to allow them to amend the application they submitted three months ago.

South Suburban Development LLC, which is led by Hinsdale investor Rob Miller and championed by Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmers-Currin, had initially pitched a site on an undeveloped plot near Lincoln and Harlem Avenue.

But after the Matteson group submitted an application for its $300 million proposal to the Gaming Board in October, several neighboring community groups and the Frankfort Township Board publicly slammed the casino plan for being “directly adjacent to two schools and three densely populated residential subdivisions.” A junior high school and elementary are each within about a mile of Harlem and Lincoln.

* Related…

* Rockford mayor says he won’t accept donations from Hard Rock investors: Cutting off a lucrative source of funding could be a challenge if McNamara seeks re-election and has a strong challenger. But a mayor’s decision to decline contributions from large-money donors is a calculated risk, said Scot Schraufnagel, chairman of Northern Illinois University’s political science department.


  1. - Anon - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Mike Z has a huge conflict on this. Only the combine can think this is appropriate. This kind of activity dooms our state

  2. - City Zen - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    Just in time for me to place my bet on Austin Peay over Illinois in the first round.

  3. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===Paging Mayor Lightfoot. Paging Mayor Lightfoot. Those still-untapped revenues could help spruce up your airports.===

    Um….have you checked out And Midway is just now finishing a complete renovation as well.

  4. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    Related: The State really needs to step up its enforcement of the Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program. A friend of mine with a gambling addiction sneaked onto a boat lost month and lost thousands of dollars in one night. (He routinely loses money at the stupid video poker machines too.)

  5. - DIstant watcher - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    @Anon- new here? This was raked last Spring. What you call a “huge conflict” was an oppo dump by gaming interests hoping to stall a bill, based on Z’s non-equity employment at a law firm were he represents clients who aren’t in the gambling arena.

    So have you got any thing new?

  6. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==- Anon - Friday, Jan 31, 20 @ 2:27 pm:==

    Save it for the podcast, John.

  7. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 4, 20 @ 9:10 am:

    Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara is in no danger of losing an election. He is polling into the 60s% and has no serious opposition in the area. His largest funders have been developers and Trade Unions who had no financial interest in the Hard Rock casino. The professor isn’t giving accurate information, in fact, it is notable to say that McNamara has already collected his donations to those tied to Hard Rock and has a bank big enough to scare off any challenger.

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