Casino's new owner gambles on big changes to Taj Mahal – Press Herald

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Jim Allen once worked for Donald Trump in Atlantic City. Now, the chairman of Hard Rock International is doing all he can to scrub the influence of the man who is now president of the United States from his signature casino.

Hard Rock, the gambling arm of the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida, is working on a remake of the former Trump Taj Mahal casino, which the company bought in March for $50 million, for about 4 cents on the dollar from the $1.2 billion Trump spent to open it in 1990.

This week, Allen revealed more details about Hard Rock’s plans for what Trump once described as “the eighth wonder of the world.”

The company is upping its investment in the former Taj Mahal from $350 million to $500 million. Allen has already met with the casino workers’ union whose strike last year prompted billionaire Carl Icahn to shut the casino down in October, and Allen promises to sign a contract with the union.

Hard Rock soon will announce a partnership to offer internet gambling in multiple jurisdictions, including, eventually, New Jersey. And then there’s the de-Trumpification the place needs.

“It’s everywhere,” Allen said of Trump’s influence on the Indian palace-themed Taj Mahal. “The amount of money we’re going to have to spend to remove all those minarets and all that purple. … What were we thinking?”

When the casino opens in summer 2018, it will bear the signature Hard Rock logo and its ubiquitous guitars, and the dozens of domes, minarets and other Trump-style flourishes will be long gone.

“We are committed to a minimum of $500 million we’re going to put back into that building,” Allen said. “It does us no good to put some guitars on the wall and new carpets, and

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DuPage committee to revisit ban on video gaming in unincorporated … – Chicago Tribune

A DuPage County Board committee will discuss the possible repeal of its 2009 ban on video gaming for businesses located in unincorporated areas.

Board member Paul Fichtner told the board last week the matter will be discussed at the June 13 Finance Committee meeting.

“It was the consensus of the committee to discuss this and perhaps make a decision at that same meeting three weeks from now,” Fichtner said. “Because of the nature of the topic and the interest it may bring, I’m suggesting we start at 7:30 a.m.”

Board member Jim Zay requested the committee address the matter.

“Obviously, we’ve been getting emails and public comment (from people interested in the repeal), so I think it’s time to take another look at it,” Zay said.

“I’m not saying we’re in favor of it or against it, but it’s time to listen to their concerns and see what’s going on. A lot of things have changed since 2009 with video gaming so I think it’s time for the board to give these people an opportunity to hear their concerns and look at it again.”

Individuals both for and against video gaming have spoken at the last three county board meetings.

Jeremy Truex, co-owner of a tavern located in an unincorporated part of Lombard, is among those who think the prohibition should be removed.

“The county is missing out on some serious tax revenue,” Truex said. “You’ve got people going to other municipalities and spending their money, whereas they could be spending it in unincorporated DuPage County with all its small businesses.”

Will County, which does allow video gaming in unincorporated areas, collected $198,915 in tax distributions in 2016 from the 27 establishments licensed for video gaming, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

In Kane County, 12 such businesses earned

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Interactive experiences a big part of casinos' futures – SFGate

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Photo: Wayne Parry, Associated Press

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This March 31, 2017 photo shows a competitive video game tournament under way at Caesars casino in Atlantic City,N.J. Such games, called eSports, are one of several new interactive offerings that will be a big part of the future of casinos in the U.S. and around the world, participants at a major gambling conference in Atlantic City said on Wednesday May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry) less This March 31, 2017 photo shows a competitive video game tournament under way at Caesars casino in Atlantic City,N.J. Such games, called eSports, are one of several new interactive offerings that will be a big … more Photo: Wayne Parry, Associated Press

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A video game tournament is played at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J., in March. E-sports are among the interactive offerings that will be a big part of the future of casinos, experts say.

A video game tournament is played at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J., in March. E-sports are among the interactive offerings that will be a big part of the future of casinos, experts say.

Photo: Wayne Parry, Associated Press

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This March 31, 2017 photo shows a competitive video game tournament under way at Caesars casino in Atlantic City,N.J. Such games, called eSports, are one of several new interactive offerings that will be a big part of the future of casinos in the U.S. and around the world, participants at a major gambling conference in Atlantic City said on Wednesday May 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry) less This March 31, 2017

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Poker Player Damon Smith Jailed For 15 years Over Underground Bomb Plot – PokerTube

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26 May

(Photo: BBC.co.uk)

The 20-year old poker-playing student who was convicted last month of a bomb plot on the London Underground has been jailed today for 15 years at the Old Bailey in London.

Damon Smith, who claims to have autism, smiled in the dock as the judge, Richard Marks QC, sentenced him to 15 years in a young offender institution, with an extended period of five years on licence. Judge Marks said that although Smith had an interest in Islam, he was not motivated by terrorism.

Smith was captured on CCTV leaving an explosives and ball-bearing filled rucksack on the London Underground Jubilee Line on October 20 last year, having built the bomb at home with a £2 clock from Tesco, after googling an al-Qaeda article entitled ‘Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom’.

Today his mother, Antonitza Smith, 47, claimed that her son needed help and not a prison sentence, stating:

“He is a vulnerable little boy. He needs help not prison. People think he is a killer but he wouldn’t even hurt a fly. He is a lovely boy.”

She said that the ‘poker-playing loner’, “ did not realize the consequences or the seriousness of the offence he had done.”

When Smith was tasered and arrested by police late last year, neighbors were in disbelief that the “gentlest-natured person” was responsible for the bombing attempt, which experts stated was viable would have caused considerable injury and damage had it exploded.

“He is really smart, really smart. I know he played poker and stuff, he’s really good at it,” stated one neighbor, while another, Ray Wilkinson, told reporters at the time: “He used to play poker… he was a real poker fan and he used to join clubs and things like

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A casino bill raises a red flag in Chicago – Chicago Tribune

With their adjournment scheduled for Wednesday, lawmakers in Springfield spent the week rushing mostly inconsequential bills through the legislative funnel. The Senate passed its version of a budget, but the House has shown little interest and instead adjourned early Friday and canceled Saturday.

That’s right. The House already took a week off this month and two weeks last month, preceded by a light schedule since the start of the year. Consider Friday’s adjournment another indication there is no urgency, still, from House Speaker Michael Madigan to steady the state’s financial tailspin.

He might, however, allow a vote on a massive casino expansion. A House committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Monday, but we won’t be surprised if that gets canceled, too.

The bill would add casinos in Chicago, Lake County, the south suburbs, Rockford, Danville and Williamson County in southern Illinois. It would allow the state’s existing 10 casinos to add more machines and tables. It would permit slots at Chicago’s airports. And it would legalize slots at the state’s horse racing tracks.

We know. A cumbrous gambling bill is an annual ritual, fed by special interest groups, lobbyists and consultants who make money off the constant drumbeat. That beat got a little louder recently when Gov. Bruce Rauner said he would be willing to support additional casinos if they were part of a broader budget and reform package.

But wait. Let’s examine.

The latest 533-page expansion bill comes after the slow rollout of legalized video gambling in bars and restaurants, which the legislature approved and former Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in 2009. Consumers can sit at poker terminals at thousands of mom-and-pop taverns, gambling cafes and even some fast-food joints. Now up and running, the state’s video poker footprint is so expansive, it is the

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