A $2.8m settlement from the backers of the bankrupt Emerald Casino is to be collected by the village of Rosemont in Chicagoland, Illinois, settling an 18-year legal dispute.
Rosemont sought up to $45 million to cover costs incurred during the development of an 8,500-space car park that had been designated for the casino and surrounding property it owned.
Rosemont was reimbursed $2.8 million after paying $10 million on legal fees, despite the Mayor’s claim that the overall loss of the village due to the failed casino proposal “far surpassed $50 million.”
Mayor Brad Stephens said: “We were in a negative position cash-wise. But we have a parking garage as an asset. We were never going to recoup the legal fees, but it’s better than getting nothing. We were handed lemons and made some pretty tasty lemonade.”
The Emerald Casino, with estimated annual sales of $400m and tax revenues of $6.4m over the first 10 years, was once a promising idea for the local region.
But in 2001, after discovering it had repeatedly lied about its ownership structure, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) revoked the casino developer’s permit.
A federal judge ruled in 2014 that six former Emerald supporters owed a total of $272 million to separate organisations involved in the project due to individual enforcement violations that had contributed to the loss of the licence.
Illinois has since introduced a competitive market for sports betting that has increased tax revenues in the state.
Casino development plans are being considered in Waukegan, the southern suburbs, Rockford and Williamson County, but regulators have postponed a decision due to a backlog of work prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.