Eight years ago, Illinois legislators sought to make state-sanctioned gambling even more of a playpen for their friends than it already was. They tried to steer one of 10 state gaming licenses to a clout-rich Emerald Casino that would open in clout-rich Rosemont. It was a classic ploy from the Illinois culture of political sleaze: The pols of both parties help their pals — and everybody goes home the richer.
Or so the wise guys and gals figured. But the Rosemont casino plan flopped. And, late in 2005, the Illinois Gaming Board revoked the Emerald license, concluding that company officials had played fast and loose with rules designed to keep casino operators honest and mob-free. Emerald appealed that revocation to the courts. And Thursday, three state appellate judges in Springfield used 152 pages of convincing prose to demolish Emerald’s arguments one by one.