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10th casino license to be issued soon
By Rob Olmstead | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/10/2008 12:12 AM

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After being tied up in litigation for almost the last decade, the state's 10th casino license will be back in play very shortly, the Illinois Gaming Board announced Wednesday.

Details of how the license will be issued, and whether there will be a bidding process for it, will be revealed next Wednesday, said Gene O'Shea, spokesman for the IGB.

The Gaming Board and the Illinois Department of Revenue selected David C. Berman, managing director of Credit Suisse Securities LLC, to direct the issuance of the license, O'Shea said. His goal is to maximize the amount of money the state can get for the license, O'Shea said.

Berman's selection was not approved at any public IGB board meeting, but instead was done by the Illinois Department of Revenue with little fanfare. The IGB and Department of Revenue have sparred in the past over oversight of the IGB, which is supposed to be an independent enforcement body separate from the Department of Revenue. However, IGB draws its funding from the revenue department. A bill proposed by Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan would completely disassociate the two and increase fees on casinos to dramatically hike staffing of the oversight body.

Credit Suisse was picked after troubled investment banker Bear Stearns was considered for the position and then discarded.

O'Shea could not release any details of how Berman and Credit Suisse will pick the owner of the license. That information, he said, will be revealed at a 1 p.m. news conference at the James R. Thompson Center on Wednesday.

A key question is whether the village of Rosemont will be allowed to be a possible location for the state's 10th casino. The license had been mired in litigation after the Illinois legislature allowed the owners of the 10th license to relocate to Rosemont, but IGB investigators suspended that license after showing the casino, Emerald Casino, had mob-tied investors. Ultimately, the state revoked the license on that basis, but Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has stated publicly that there were continuing questions of ties between organized crime and the village itself.

Late Mayor Donald Stephens vehemently denied any such suggestion, and current mayor Bradley Stephens has said the village should be allowed to compete for any new issuance of the license.