TRIBUNE: Who is Nicky Nichols?


As Illinois struggles to roll out video gambling machines in bars and truck stops, one of the key players setting up shop here is a master of the game in Louisiana.


Nicky Nichols grew a Louisiana video poker empire while striking up business relationships with lawmakers who help regulate the industry. And his father-in-law was a major figure in the state’s storied gambling scene who admitted bribing the governor to get a casino license.


Now Nichols is angling to be a dominant player in Illinois’ behind-the-scenes gold rush, competing with scores of other applicants for a share of an estimated $1 billion pot. To do that, Nichols is bringing his Louisiana business style to Illinois.


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