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Ohio Gaming Commission Questions Gilbert Over Loan

Daniel Gilbert is hoping to have more luck in the casino gambling industry than he has had in the NBA draft lottery over the past few years. Gilbert is best known for his war with LeBron James when the former Cavaliers star chose the Miami Heat over his hometown Cavaliers several years ago, but now Gilbert is becoming known as a business tycoon in Ohio.

One of Gilbert's latest ventures comes through the gaming company he formed, Rock Gaming. The company won the rights to open casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland, with the Cleveland facility set to open its doors to customers in May. Before that happens, Gilbert has been the subject of cross-examination by gaming regulators in Ohio.

This past week, Gilbert was questioned heavily about a $60,000 loan that he made back in 2009 to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The former mayor had a criminal case brought against him for misappropriating funds, and owed Detroit over $800,000. Regulators were trying to get the sense of why Gilbert offered the loan to Kilpatrick.

"In hindsight, poor judgement to make that loan," Gilbert told regulators. He went on to say that he thought the loan would help Kilpatrick provide for his family in a time of need. It was later determined that Kilpatrick had been running an illegal money-making scheme.

The meeting with regulators spanned many topics, as the Gaming Commission is getting close to issuing licenses to Rock Gaming. Gilbert's group was not the only ones that were questioned, as representatives of Caesars Entertainment Corporation also answered questions relating to their financial stability.

Ohio voters approved casinos several years ago for the first time after many attempts by gaming groups failed in the past. Casinos were approved for Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo. The Columbus and Toledo casinos will be owned by Penn National Gaming, a group that will go through the same vetting process as Rock Gaming.

Gilbert is best known for his public feud with LeBron James. The former Cavs star spurned his home team when he announced on national television that he would be playing in Miami. Gilbert sent out a scathing letter, condemning the way James handled the process. Outside of Ohio, Gilbert was chastised for his response to the James decision.

Gilbert has several successful businesses in Ohio, and the casinos are expected to be another in that group. Ohio residents have long had to travel to other states to gamble, but will soon have the privilege of staying close to home to enjoy a night out at the casino.

"I have been waiting twenty years for what's going to happen next month," said Mark Galper, a Cleveland resident. "I've taken at least 20 trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City in that time, and it's going to be great to be able to just drive ten or fifteen minutes to get to a casino. I can't wait."

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