Illinois regulators have given up their effort to dismantle one of many state’s largest video playing empires as a part of a authorized settlement with the corporate’s controversial founder, who agreed to pay $75,000 in fines and costs.
Suburban playing kingpin Rick Heidner and his Gold Rush Amusements Inc. will preserve working his slot machines “in good standing” at greater than 600 institutions throughout the state below the deal accepted Wednesday by the Illinois Gaming Board.
That company’s administrator, Marcus Fruchter, moved to revoke Heidner’s playing license in December 2019, claiming Heidner had supplied up a $5 million “illegal inducement” to the proprietor of a playing parlor chain that deliberate to take away Heidner’s slots. State playing regulation prohibits “giving something of worth to an institution as an incentive” to make use of an organization’s machines.
However greater than a yr into the case, new proof “added readability and context to the occasions underlying the disciplinary grievance,” Fruchter stated earlier than Gaming Board members unanimously accepted the settlement.
Heidner had maintained the allegations had been a part of an “orchestrated smear marketing campaign” by Dan Fischer, a competitor who stays in a heated authorized battle with Heidner. Court docket data stemming from that ongoing lawsuit present Gaming Board investigators are actually contemplating self-discipline in opposition to Fischer, who’s additionally the lead investor in a bunch that has obtained preliminary approval to interrupt floor on a new casino in Rockford.
“After 18 months of denying false accusations from adversaries and preventing to guard my enterprise, my household and my status, I’m grateful that the IGB intently reviewed and regarded the information and proof demonstrating that I didn’t supply an unlawful inducement because the disciplinary grievance alleged,” Heidner stated in an announcement.
Heidner’s legal professional, former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins, stated the settlement “vindicates” Gold Rush and claimed regulators solely went after Gold Rush “in response to deceptive media reviews.”
Heidner was put under the microscope in October 2019 when his title surfaced in a federal search warrant linked to a sweeping public corruption probe that has ensnared a number of prime state lawmakers. That summer time, federal brokers went on the lookout for objects associated to Heidner and Gold Rush, amongst different entities, after they raided the workplaces of then-state Sen. Martin Sandoval and McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski.
Inside days, Gov. J.B. Pritzker pulled the plug on Heidner’s different main playing prospect, refusing to promote state-owned land in Tinley Park for the video playing magnate to interrupt floor on a brand new mixture horse racing observe and on line casino — an formidable venture that beforehand had appeared on the quick observe to state approval.
However final summer time, Chicago’s prime federal prosecutor, John Lausch, took the uncommon step of signing a letter confirming Heidner was “not a target of this investigation.”
Sandoval later resigned and pleaded responsible to bribery, earlier than he died of COVID-19 final fall. Tobolski has since resigned and pleaded guilty to an extortion scheme.
In his Gaming Board settlement, Heidner agreed to pay $45,000 in administrative and investigative prices stemming from the grievance, plus a $30,000 fantastic “for disparaging textual content messages unrelated to the disciplinary grievance.”
Heidner additionally agreed to drop his personal lawsuit in opposition to the company filed final yr after a Gaming Board worker allegedly leaked his company’s confidential information to a few federal businesses in violation of state regulation.