Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ilitch charitable foundations used to promote struggling gambling hall

Detroit's powerful Ilitch family is using its various affiliated charitable foundations to promote and possibly even generate revenue for the struggling Detroit casino owned by the family's matriarch.

According to a press release marketing the two-day festivities, on August 24 & 25, Ilitch Charities along with the Detroit Tigers Foundation and the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, hosted a Detroit area golf tournament which was preceded by a "Summer Soiree" preview party at Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

The gambling hall is reportedly owned entirely by Mrs. Marian Ilitch. Family patriarch Patriarch Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and along with Marian is co-owner of the Detroit Red Wings.

Christopher Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Holdings and a member of MotorCity Casino's management committee, is the chairman of Ilitch Chairities and his wife Kelle is a director. David Agius, Christopher Ilitch's one-time executive assistant, is the President of Ilitch Charities. Patriarch Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and along with Marian is co-owner of the Detroit Red Wings.
The Ilitch events were marketed as opportunities to play golf and mingle at MotorCity Casino with Hollywood celebrities as well as managers, players and coaches affiliated with the Ilitch owned Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.

The Ilitch family has been using its charitable foundations and other assets to promote and drive revenues to MotorCity Casino. Twice before the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and player from the NHL franchise have been used to promote poker tournaments at MotorCity Casino.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has strict prohibitions against gambling and casinos which apply to its players, managers, coaches and owners. The press release suggest those currently affiliated with the Tigers baseball team were partcipants at the MotorCity Casino party.

Even after spending more than $300,000 renovating and expanding MotorCity Casino, revenues at the Ilitch-owned gambling hall have been on the decline. Crain's Detroit reports that revenues at the Ilitch casino are down 1.5% over the previous 12 months and in July alone revenues took a 7.26% dive. In the last several years, Moody's and Standard & Poor's have downgraded the credit ratings for MotorCity Casino (aka CCM Merger, Inc.)

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