The future casino in Rockford received preliminary approval from the Illinois Gaming Board this week, despite ongoing investigation into one of the project’s investors.
Shortly after approval was granted, gaming board chairman Charles Schmadeke announced his support for the $ 310 million Rockford plan and said the investigation was continuing regardless of approval and that the board would closely examine the list of investors. .
Schmadeke admitted to having some questions about particular individuals and their relationships, but according to him, those were just questions and not evidence. He said: “All the evidence that I have seen that has occurred on the game board does not show that there is a problem.”
He added: “As this matter progresses, evidence may or may not develop that some key people may not be suitable for this particular project. But today we are not there. “
The president declined to give more information about the supposedly questionable relationship and he just said that if Rockford bidders continued to cooperate with the board, all questions would be resolved.
The Fischer Saga
Naperville businessman Dan Fischer was the one who presented Rockford’s plan to the board last week. He described himself as the “managing member” of the effort.
Fischer’s company was involved in a investigation of 2018, but according to the gaming board’s attorney this could only lead to disciplinary action that the board has yet to take.
The Gaming Board has yet to make a statement on the matter and Fischer’s attorney said his client did nothing wrong.
Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said at Thursday’s meeting that the Rockford group promised to remove any investors who not suitable for the project.
Fischer is not the only investor in the future project. The others include the wife of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and a former Rockford mayor.
The plan for the future casino is part of the approval of the Illinois legislator and Democratic Governor JB Pritzker for a massive game expansion which began in 2019. Pritzker’s hopes are that the expansion will generate additional revenue for the state government.
As part of the plan, six new casinos are expected to launch, including Rockford. They will join the top 10 existing casino establishments in Illinois.
Rockford’s plan was endorsed last year by city officials and now competes with two more projects for final board approval.
The preliminary vote it was indeed an important step because it opened the door to the construction of the permanent facility in Rockford. According to the plan, the future site of the casino is the former Clock Tower Resort near Instate 90.
But there is still a long way to go as the licenses have yet to be granted.
However, things are looking good for the project, as Schmadeke and other gaming officials expressed approval of the Rockford team’s effort to involve minorities in the project.
The president said, “I would like to see the benefits distributed throughout the community at all levels,” said Schmadeke. “I am excited for the city of Rockford.”
Source: “Illinois Official Gives Preliminary Clearance for Rockford Casino,” Wbez, February 4, 2021