New poll - Illinoisans against casino for Rosemont

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

CHICAGO -- A new poll shows more than twice as many Illinois residents oppose a casino for suburban Rosemont than support such a project.

The telephone poll taken for the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV showed 54 percent of those surveyed opposed to any casino for Rosemont, and only 23 percent favoring one. Another 23 percent had no opinion.

The results of the poll were reported in Monday's editions of the Tribune.

The poll shows a similar majority opposed to a proposed $615 million buyout of the troubled Emerald investor group by Las Vegas casino giant MGM Mirage Inc. The buyout would provide $455 million for Emerald investors, and only $160 million for the state.

The deal reportedly worked out by Illinois Gaming Board administrator Philip Parenti would give MGM Mirage the shuttered Emerald casino's defunct license.

A year ago, the Illinois Gaming Board denied Emerald's request to build a casino in Rosemont. The regulatory board's administrator at the time, Sergio Acosta, said Emerald Chief Executive Kevin Flynn and his father, Donald Flynn, had lied to investigators. The Gaming Board also alleged that some Emerald shareholders had ties to organized crime.

Emerald denied the charges and sued the Gaming Board.

The new poll says 54 percent of those survey oppose the buyout, 20 percent approve it, and 27 percent are undecided.

The telephone poll of 1,200 registered voters was taken for the Tribune and WGN-TV Feb. 9-12 by Market Shares Corp. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Tribune reported that opposition to the casino and to the buyout was strong throughout the state, including Cook County, which would be the area most likely to receive economic benefits if the plan went through.

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