Rosemont, IL: Isle of Capri Casinos is formulating a PR plan for the Chicago market that will focus on the casino and not delve into issues involving organized crime's alleged influence in the suburb where it will be located.
Isle last week won a bidding war for Illinois' tenth and final casino license. It bid $518 million and will build in Rosemont, a village that is adjacent to O'Hare Airport.
Allegations of ties to organized crime have dogged the Illinois village.
The Illinois gaming board's decision prompted questions about the organized crime issue from the Chicago media and led the governor to appoint a special investigator to look into the decision.
The board's staff had recommended another bidder - Gary Mack, whose agency, Mack Communications, handles PR for Rosemont. Mack said of the organized crime issue: "Once some of these things are alleged, it is difficult to put them to rest. With or without the casino, they are going to be there."
Rosemont will use the casino in convention trade press PR to promote its convention center, the tenth largest in the country, Mack said.
The village has called on the gaming board to make public any organized crime allegations it has, Mack noted.
Lori Eckert, the director of corporate communications for Mississippi-based Isle, said Rosemont's history is "a completely separate issue" from the planned casino.
Isle issued a statement in response to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D-IL) request for an investigation, saying it supported the move. Isle's PR will concentrate on publicizing a new look planned for the Rosemont facility, Eckert said. Isle retains Hill & Knowlton.
Harrah's, which lost despite offering $520 million to build in far-north suburban Waukegan, worked with Chicago public affairs shop Jasculca/Terman and Associates.