Gaming Board should look into how organization operator with previous mob ties bought gambling license

It wasn’t as well extended back that the gambling industry was once almost normally synonymous with arranged criminal offense. 

You don’t have to be considerably of a significant roller to get the link, the subject of films like Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” and actual-daily life courtroom dramas that, at occasions, are additional colorful than the major-display tales.

At one particular of these legal proceedings below in Chicago in 2010, restaurant owner Jeffrey Bertucci testified that Casey Szaflarski — a man federal authorities explained as the mob’s online video poker king — offered him with a few gaming products at his Cicero Steak N Egger diner.

Szaflarski “routinely collected revenue from the machines” he gave Bertucci and “divvied up the proceeds,” the Sunshine-Instances noted at the time. Bertucci, who testified that he illegally paid out out winnings from the gaming devices and split his just take with the Szaflarski, also acknowledged in open up courtroom that he bought some machines from a company owned by Outfit manager James Marcello. 

Bertucci publicly spoke of his mob ties and illegal routines, still the Illinois Gaming Board granted him a license in 2019 to legally operate the online video gaming machines at his west suburban company, the Sunlight-Times’ Robert Herguth and Tim Novak noted previous weekend. 

Neither Gaming Board administrator Marcus Fruchter nor the relaxation of the present-day board had been serving the agency when point out regulators eco-friendly-lit Bertucci’s software for his Firebird Enterprises, Inc.

But now it is up to them to get to the base of why Bertucci was presented a license, even although his sketchy previous was no mystery. 

It is also no solution that Firebird will get its gambling units from Accel Amusement, a company whose lobbyists include a organization operate by Michael Kasper, a major aide to previous Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Irrespective of whether that political connection played a part in clearing the way for Bertucci remains to be witnessed as the gaming board — whose career is to make certain that lawful gambling is free from the taint of structured crime — investigates the make a difference.

The board, we feel, simply cannot do more than enough to make positive that mob ties and old-faculty politics remain a factor of the past with gaming.

The board has authority underneath the different gaming statutes and board rules to willpower licensees, including license revocation, agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaufman instructed us.

Bertucci employed to have online video gambling devices at his Steak N Egger diner in the metropolis, at 1174 W. Cermak Rd. He no more time does. But should Chicago inevitably approve movie gaming in its backyard, Bertucci could consider cashing in some far more.

Which tends to make the end result of the investigation, for the town, even additional essential.

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By Sia