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SNEED: Could Chicago get temporary casino if gambling bill gets OK?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel  |  Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:38AM



Ka-ching . . .

It’s a side bet!

Sneed hears a temporary Chicago casino could be on Mayor Emanuel’s drawing board if the state’s new casino legislation finally gets approved.

“The mayor wasn’t really warm to a temporary facility initially because he would not want it to look like Hicksville and just make money where people feed off gambling addictions,” a mayoral source said.

But a temporary facility might be a good idea.

“A classy temporary site where people can be entertained is certainly a possibility . . . but I don’t think the mayor is jumping up and down yet,” the mayoral source added.

Although no specific site has been discussed, a temporary facility — whether it be portable, built or housed in an existing facility — would enable the city to make money Emanuel wants earmarked for construction and improvement of Chicago schools, while waiting for a permanent casino to be built.

“A temporary Chicago casino was part of the original casino legislation in 2012 the governor rejected. Everything seemed to fall by the wayside then,” the mayoral source added.

“A temporary Chicago casino facility doesn’t sound like a dilemma to me,” State Sen. President John Cullerton said.

“Why lose money?” he told Sneed.

“Mayor Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn are now in negotiations dealing with the tax issues, but if all gets settled — as well as the state issues — the new legislation will include the ability to create a temporary Chicago casino site,” Cullerton said.

“There is plenty of empty space available in the city,” a source said.

A suggestion was made in 2010 by then-mayoral hopeful Ald. Robert Fioretti that McCormick Place East be converted in a giant, temporary casino while Chicago looked for a permanent site.

“If the new casino bill passes, the city would have to hire someone to run the casino after being licensed by the gaming board,” said a top casino source.

Sneed hears rumbles that Las Vegas gambling impresario Steve Wynn’s name may be in the mix to run the casino.

Any gambling expansion could be a threat to real estate mogul Neil Bluhm, who operates the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines — the state’s highest-grossing casino.

If a Chicago casino or race track slots are approved by the Illinois General Assembly, Bluhm told the press recently that he wants to add more slot machines and pay lower taxes to survive.

◆ The Ka-ching thing: Sneed hears Wynn and Bluhm are good friends and spend time together.

Hmmmm. Discussions, boys?

Stay tuned.

Nurse notes . . .

Finality & fiscal finesse: The family of London nurse Jacintha Saldanha — who committed suicide in December after a prank call by two Aussie radio DJ’s inquiring about Kate Middleton’s hospitalization for morning sickness — was expected to receive a donation of at least $524,631 from the company that owns the radio station, according to the International Business Times.

Bench press . . .

Stop the presses!!!! Sneed hears federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has been hit by an IRS bill — a 1099 form to pay taxes on the federal protection she received after a recent prison escape by Joseph “Jose” Banks, who reportedly had threatened her life.

◆ Ya gotta be kidding! Tax on a death threat! Sneed is told that Pallmeyer had acceded to the U.S. Marshal’s decision that she needed protection when Banks used a line of bedsheets to slip out a window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

◆ To the rescue: Sneed has learned a move is afoot to correct this goofball decision made by the administrative office of the U.S. courts in Washington, D.C.

Sneedlings . . .

Condolences to Ruth Edelman, wife of PR magnate Dan Edelman, who died Tuesday at 92. He was a legend and she was his muse . . . Wednesday’s birthdays: Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, 69; Kate Moss, 39, and Cardinal Francis George, ageless and priceless.



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