CDO woes no mo’ Five Wisconsin school districts have settled a lawsuit with an investment firm over the sale of collateralized debt obligations. The school districts say the firm sold them CDOs without disclosing the risks involved. The districts will get $22 million from the firm, according to the Wall Street Journal. And they won’t have to pay the $154 million they still owe the firm.
Et tu legislature? Ohio governor John Kasich’s plan to tax oil and gas companies seems to be stalled in the state legislature. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports that Kasich’s own Republican colleagues are the reason for the holdup.
No protest permit Partner station WBEZ reports the city of Chicago has turned down a permit request from people who plan to protest the upcoming NATO summit. The city had previously approved a permit for the same protest route one day earlier. Protesters asked to switch the day after the G-8 summit was canceled in the city.
Gambling go-ahead Partner station Michigan Radio reports last night the Lansing city council voted to approve a new $245 million casino. The casino would be built in the city’s downtown. It still needs federal approval.
Not the Abba song, right? Wisconsin governor Scott Walker talked to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News last night. He said the recall against him is a “Waterloo” for unions.
So much for pancakes this year Maple syrup producers in Wisconsin say this is their worst year in memory, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Because of the warm weather, sap only ran for one day in some places. Usually, it runs for weeks.
Vote vote vote If you live in Illinois, it’s primary day. Here’s a guide, from partner station WBEZ.
Patently down The number of patent applications filed in Illinois dropped almost 6 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the Chicago Tribune. The city of Chicago also didn’t grow its patent applications as quickly as other big cities. Patent applications are seen as one indicator of innovation in a region.
Casino vote City leaders in Lansing will vote on several items related to a proposed casino tonight. Partner station Michigan Radio has a preview of what the vote could mean for the $245 million proposal.
A send off The U.S. Postal Service is getting ready to shut facilities in Michigan, affecting 475 jobs. The plan is on hold until May to allow members of Congress a chance to come up with a new proposal. But a spokesman for the Service says something will have to give one way or the other. He told the Associated Press the Postal Service has “too much real estate for the amount of mail.”
Buh bye banks The Ohio Treasurer is ending the state’s relationship with two banks. Treasurer Josh Mandel says the banks have defrauded Ohio pensioners of millions of dollars.
How are they going to vote? The Illinois GOP primary is tomorrow. Partner station WBEZ has been tracking three GOP voters for months.
Credit: flickr user Michael Kappel
Yesterday, we used some Bon Jovi lyrics to explain the casino boom in the Midwest.
But while we were busy analyzing what casinos tell us about our regional economy, both The Atlantic Magazine and the New York Times Magazine published long, in depth looks at the state of casino gambling in the U.S. Both pieces are worth a read.
The Atlantic‘s Mark Bowden writes about “The Man Who Broke Atlantic City.” He profiles savvy blackjack player Don Johnson, who managed to win $15 million from three Atlantic City casinos on three different days.
Bowden writes that Johnson was able to take advantage of the casinos because, as a high-roller, he could negotiate his own rules for playing blackjack – small changes that tilted the odds of the game in his favor.
Bowden writes that the casinos gave Johnson the special rules because they’re desperate for revenue.
A rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing Casino. Photo courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Next week, the city council in Lansing, Mich. is expected to vote on a proposal for a $245 million casino for the city’s downtown.
The proposal is just the latest in what’s starting to look like a casino-boom in the Midwest. Both Toledo and Cleveland have new casinos opening in May. The Detroit Free Press reported last week that there are no fewer than 22 casino proposals in Michigan right now. And Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is still holding out hope for Illinois leaders to approve gambling in his city.
At first glance, it’s easy to see why casino gambling is such a hot topic right now. Casinos bring hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment, including construction jobs and long-term jobs for dealers, waiters, cooks and others.
Also, research has shown that regions in economic stress are more likely to use gambling as an economic development tool. Here in the Midwest, there’s been plenty of economic stress.
But it’s not exactly a settled issue whether casino gambling actually creates economic development.
So why all the interest?