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Video gambling magnate sues Illinois Gaming Board

Crain's Chicago Business

Friday, February 14, 2020  |  Article  |  Sarah Zimmerman

Gambling, Gaming

Rick Heidner and his firm, Gold Rush Amusements, are suing for $4 million, claiming a gaming board employee leaked private financial and personal information to federal agencies.

A video gaming mogul fighting to keep his license has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the Illinois Gaming Board, alleging a board employee leaked personal and private financial information to three undisclosed federal agencies.

 

Rick Heidner, who was named in a federal search warrant during an FBI raid of former state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s office in September, alleges in a lawsuit filed yesterday to the Illinois Court of Claims that the gaming board employee intentionally and without authorization disclosed the sensitive financial information. (You can read the suit at the end of this story.)

 

Heidner owns Gold Rush Amusements, which provides thousands of gaming machines to over 500 bars, restaurants and other establishments across the state, according to a statement from his attorneys.

 

The leak was a blow to Heidner’s professional reputation and occurred a day after the Chicago Tribune reported on his business ties to a banking family connected to the mob, the lawsuit claims.

 

“Upon information and belief, the IGB employee made these disclosures to fuel—or at least in response to—the negative media coverage the IGB helped generate against Mr. Heidner and Gold Rush,” the complaint reads.

 

The Illinois Gaming Board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

The suit also alleges the gaming board did not immediately inform Heidner of the breach, which they are required to do under Illinois law. The leak was only discovered a month later, after Heidner filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all correspondences between the gaming board and the Tribune, according to the suit.

 

Heidner was once a major player in Illinois’ gambling industry and was on track to secure state approval on a Tinley Park racetrack and casino project. But after the Tribune story broke in October, Gov. J.B. Pritzker pulled the plug on development plans. The state gaming board also moved to revoke his video gambling operator license, alleging Heidner offered up to $5 million to the owner of a gambling parlor chain who planned to remove Heidner’s machines, according to the Tribune. Heidner has denied those allegations.

 

Heidner is requesting the maximum allowable damages of $2 million each for himself and his company over the alleged leak of personal information.

 

Leaked information included Heidner’s financial data, personal bank records, his Social Security number, real estate holdings, mortgages and liens and other sensitive records, according to the suit.