Illinois Casino Queen Patron Sues Following Robbery Injuries

Posted on: September 8, 2019, 01:28h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2019, 11:38h.

East St. Louis Illinois venue Casino Queen was sued last month by a customer who allegedly suffered injuries while escaping over a wall after bandits shot up the venue during a hold-up two years ago.

Three suspected robbers flee Casino Queen in Illinois following a 2017 heist. A patron said she suffered injuries during the hold-up and is suing the venue. (Image: Belleville News-Democrat)

Brenda McNeil initiated the legal action last month in St. Clair County Circuit Court, in connection with the robbery, according to the Madison – St. Clair Record. On Sept. 17, 2017, three suspects entered Casino Queen, armed with rifles, and fired the weapons during the robbery, the Record said.

McNeil was eventually able to escape the venue, but not before injuring her arms, back, left shoulder, left hip, left knee and left foot, the lawsuit claims. Because of the injuries, she has allegedly undergone disfigurement, disability, mental anguish and pain, the Record said.

The venue, her attorneys argue, had a responsibility “to protect its business invitees and other persons legally upon its premises…against unreasonable risks of physical harm, including the criminal acts of third parties.” The lawsuit requests more than $50,000 and legal costs.

McNeil’s escape path included making her way over a wall that blocked her egress. She recalled in the lawsuit hearing “numerous gun shots within close proximity to her.”

The lawsuit claims Casino Queen officials either knew or should have known that a gaming venue would appeal to those likely to undertake criminal actions. Other violent crimes took place at the property, too, the lawsuit adds.

Before fleeing with cash, a security guard was injured, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Because of the prior crimes, Casino Queen should have enacted steps so as to “prevent or reduce” other crimes from occurring again.

One of the suspected robbers was arrested by police earlier this year. The other two are believed to be still at large.

A spokesperson from Casino Queen did not respond to the Record when asked for comments. Nor did the newspaper get comments from McNeil’s attorney, identified by the Record as Jeffrey A. Kopis of Belleville Illinois.

Casino Queen Had Wanted Longer Hours

During the last decade, the Illinois Gaming Board denied Casino Queen’s attempt to remain open 24 hours daily, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

At the time of the request, Casino Queen was kept open 22 hours a day. The venue’s director Michael Gaughan said back then the casino “is about two feet of water away from temporary closing.”

Currently, the casino is open Sunday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 4 a.m., according to the venue’s website. On Friday through Saturday, hours are 8 a.m. through 6 a.m.

Adding more hours a day would make Casino Queen more competitive with casinos in Missouri, the venue had argued. The Missouri competitors at the time were open 24 hours daily.

Casino Queen is located across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. East St. Louis is close to 300 miles from Chicago.

But the commission was concerned about not having enough agents to monitor the casino for longer hours. Members of the public were also concerned about longer hours.

Illinois Gambling Expansion Approved

In June, the legislature approved sports betting and expanded gambling in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed the bill, too.

But implementing additional gaming in Illinois faces some hurdles. Tax levels make it difficult to open a mega-casino in Chicago, for instance.

Yet, the suggested 500 slot machines placed at O’Hare and Chicago Midway international airports could land close to $37 million a year for the Windy City. That would even surpass the revenue from slots at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, where there are about 1,300 slots, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, based on a Union Gaming Analytics study.