The Illinois Gaming Board has imposed one of the highest fines in the history of the state’s casino industry on the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. The casino’s parent company was hit with a $2 million fine for failing to comply with internal security procedures as stipulated by the gaming board. The Rivers Casino is Illinois largest and most popular casino, was investigated by the NBC5 Investigates team and Better Government Association.
The investigation revealed that the casino had deliberately broken set procedures in hiring a maintenance and security vendor and was not very strict in following gaming promotions in the casino. Gaming board investigators also questioned the relationship that Rivers casino had with the mega cleaning company United Maintenance and its parent company United Service companies.
The owners of United have been suspected in the past of having ties to organized crime and the Illinois gaming board has made it very clear from the start that it does not want any of its casinos to have relationships with vendors or individuals who have any criminal associations.
Investigators also reported that before the Rivers Casino could open, its then Vice President of Human Resources, Merrick Dresnin recommended United as a service provider and that was one of the reasons why the company entered in a partnership. Dresnin has since left the
Rivers Casino and now serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for United Service. Investigators highlighted these inconsistencies during the month of May 2015 and the Rivers Casino took prompt action by severing their relationship with United Service. In a statement, David Patent, the casino company’s president said
Out of an abundance of caution, we terminated our relationship with United, and since then we have been fully cooperating with the Illinois Gaming board in their investigation. We self-reported to the Illinois Gaming Board that there might be an issue.
The hefty fine of $2 million was imposed by the state gaming board to send a clear message to other casinos in the state about the penalties for now adhering to the rules set in place. Investigators also found that the Rivers casino had run 5 promotions without getting state approval and the promotions did not follow set regulations. One of the instances cited include a promotion that had a $250,000 “sign up and win” draw which was reportedly closed after the deadline had passed but the casino still allowed 6 patrons to register and take part. The Rivers casino had promised to extend full cooperation to investigators to ensure that they are given a clean chit.