Delaware North's Chris Jacobs Frontrunner for US Rep. Chris Collins Seat
Delaware North, a global food and hospitality company that additionally operates in the gaming industry, could have one of its own sent to Congress in the wake of the insider trading scandal that cost US Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) his political career.
The Jacobs family founded Delaware North in 1915. Today, the conglomerate owns the NHL Boston Bruins, operates food and hospitality services at numerous national parks and major airports, and owns nine domestic casino and racinos.
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Erie County) never joined the family business, opting instead for a career in politics. He’s now said to be on the shortlist to replace Collins in the United States House of Representatives following his resignation.
“I’ve fought for conservative principles in Albany and worked hard to deliver on a high ethical standard. I decided to run for Congress because I believe Western New York deserves a member of Congress who can be effective, and Republicans deserve a candidate who can win this seat, help President Trump stop the illegal immigration crisis, and enact better trade deals,” he concluded.
Millionaire to Billionaire
Collins exits after admitting to insider trading and lying to the FBI regarding his investments in Innate Immunotherapeutics. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) must now call a special election to replace Collins before next November’s election. The governor said it will do it “sooner rather than later.” Though other candidates are expected to vie for Collins’s seat, Jacobs is seen as the frontrunner.
Jacobs doesn’t come to the table without his own controversies. He’s been criticized for not living within the district he represents in the New York Senate for the past three years. That changed this week when Jacobs flopped down $445,000 for a home in Orchard Park.
Collins was one of the wealthiest members in Congress, with his net worth estimated around $50 million. Jacobs has access to even more cash – a lot more. Delaware North remains a private company. Its current chairman, Jeremy Jacobs – Chris’s uncle – is worth $3.7 billion, according to Forbes.
Delaware North says it “is one of the most innovating gaming operators in the country.”
A few notable casinos in the company portfolio include the Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Illinois, Mardi Gras in West Virginia, and Southland Casino in Arkansas.
Delaware North is investing $250 million into Southland following Arkansas passing Issue 4, a ballot referendum that legalized commercial gambling. The former racino has already transitioned into a full-scale casino, with 2,000 slot machines and 40 table games.
The quarter-of-a-billion-dollar expansion will feature a new, 113,000-square-foot casino floor with accompanying new dining options. It will also include a 20-story hotel tower with 300 rooms.