Knowledge Center

Friday, August 14, 2015

HMB's David Hughes Mentioned in Law360 Article on Controversial Cook County Casino Tax

"County Presses Appeal Over Nixed Slot Machine Tax"

By Lance Duroni

Law360

August 11, 2015

Cook County, Illinois, on Tuesday urged a state appeals court to revive a controversial tax on slot machines and video gaming terminals, squaring off with a popular Chicago-area casino that successfully challenged the multimillion-dollar tax last year.

Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC, a venture of Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm that owns Rivers Casino Des Plaines, defeated the tax on multiple grounds last August. A state judge ruled that the $1,000 tax on each slot machine was preempted by the Illinois Riverboat Gambling Act, which reserves taxation and regulation of casinos for the state.

During oral arguments Tuesday on Cook County's appeal, a lawyer for the county said that while the 1990 law bars "political subdivisions" of the state from taxing casinos, that language doesn't cover home-rule units of government like the county. State lawmakers didn't mention home-rule units specifically as they did in a separate portion of the act that bars local officials from setting the hours for alcohol sales at casinos, according to Assistant State Attorney James Beligratis, who represents the county.

Midwest Gaming is represented by Christopher B. Wilson of Perkins Coie LLP, and David A. Hughes of Horwood Marcus & Berk Chtd.

The county is represented by Assistant State Attorney James Beligratis.

The case is Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC v. Cook County, et al., case number 14-2786, in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.

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