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.