October 6, 2023 2 min read


Illinois Businessman Seeks Leniency after Bribing Politicians to Legalize Sweepstakes

Judge Seeger, who also handed the sentence to Arroyo, is unlikely to reduce Weiss’ sentence as much as the businessman hopes

An Illinois gambling businessman is seeking leniency after he was convicted of fraud, bribery and lying to FBI agents. He faces up to 20 years in prison for his crimes.

The businessman, James T. Weiss, was convicted in June this year and is currently awaiting sentencing from US District Judge Steven Seeger. Seeking leniency for his crimes, Weiss hopes to get out of this with a 27-month sentence.

For reference, the businessman was found guilty of bribing state officials to pass legislations that favored his business. Weiss’ company, Collage, manufactures sweepstakes machines which he wanted legalized in Illinois.

To that end, Weiss paid then-state Rep. Luis Arroyo $2,500 a month in hopes of pushing his agenda through. The sweepstakes legislation didn’t appear in Illinois’ gambling bill and, as a result, Weiss then conspired with Terry Link, a former senator and chief sponsor of the gambling bill.

When the scheme was discovered, Link cooperated with the authorities in hopes of reducing his sentence. Arroyo, on the other hand, was found guilty of additional bribery-related offenses and faced a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The ex-representative was eventually sentenced to almost 5 years.

Judge Seeger, who also handed the sentence to Arroyo, is unlikely to reduce Weiss’ sentence as much as the businessman hopes.

Sweepstake Machines Remain in Illinois’ Gray Sector

Weiss was bullish on getting the sweepstakes machines legalized and has donated over $80,000 to sweepstakes machine legalization initiatives. He had many connections, allowing him to exercise certain influence to the point of being in a position to try to get certain laws passed.

One of the people he worked with, Alderman Gilbert Villegas, argued that sweepstakes machines are in Illinois, whether politicians like it or not, which is why they should be either outlawed or regulated.

Sweepstakes machines currently sit in Illinois’ legal gray area, mirroring other more unusual gambling offerings in other states, including skill games.

In unrelated news, Illinois recently stepped “away from incarceration and towards rehabilitation” by allowing former convicts to work at casinos in the state. While such people remain prohibited from serving in positions such as slot attendants and dealers, they can now serve as waiters, housekeepers, chefs, porters, etc.


Angel has a passion for all forms of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. His curious nature gives him an ace up his sleeve when researching a new topic. Angel’s thirst for knowledge, paired with adaptability, always helps him find his way around.

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