Alderman Sophia King Speaks Out Against Casino Prospects

Alderman Sophia King

Alderman Sophia King has decided to speak out a potential casino in Chicago stating that it should not be constructed at the expense of local communities.

Chicago is set to create a new casino development, with several proposals currently on the table to see who will secure licensing. Big name companies are in the mix, but one Alderman is not approving of one operator’s plans. Alderman Sophia King spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times recently, stating that she understands a casino in the city would provide financial assistance, but it should not be created at the expense of local communities. King is particularly against the plan by Bally’s Corporation.

That’s a No From Me

Bally’s has proposed creating a casino at McCormick Place Truck Marshalling Yards, near the McCormick Place Convention Center. The casino would cost $1.6 billion to build and would be accessible to locals and travelers to Chicago.

The plan is one two submitted by Bally’s. The company submitted two proposals in the hopes that one would be chosen for licensing. Bally’s says the plan above is one that will create an entertainment destination connecting the convention hub of Chicago to the Bronzeville Community, an area that King represents.

For King, she says the community has been clear that it does not want the McCormick site to be used for a casino. With opposition from the Alderman and reportedly, the local community, this plan by Bally’s may already be dead in the water.

Bally’s is also considering the land where the printing plant is located for the Chicago Tribune. With both locations, Bally’s wants to build a resort destination and complete it in two phases. The first phase would include the casino, with the property featuring 2,700 slot games and just under 100 table games. The property would also be home to a large hotel and outdoor performance center.

During the second phase, the casino would be expanded to offer more gaming and a hotel tower would be constructed. Exhibition space is also in the plans along with an indoor entertainment center.

Who Will Be Selected?

Along with Bally’s, several other top companies are in the running for the Chicago casino license. This includes Hard Rock International and Rush Street Gaming. Hard Rock proposed a venue at One Central, spending $19 billion on a development that would be home to the casino as well as commercial, hospitality, residential, educational, and health-related developments.

Like Bally’s, Rush Street Gaming decided to submit two proposals. The company is focused on a rail yard near the Chicago River and the McCormick Place Lakeside Center. With the first location, the casino would be constructed at The 78. The second would see a wing of the convention center changed to a casino venue.

Each of the plans offer something different in the casino and overall development concept. During a press conference last week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was asked about the proposals and would not say if she favored one over another.

She did say that she is excited about the proposals and the expectation is that presentations will be provided by the companies. The mayor wants to have a finalist by the first quarter of 2022 so that a proposal can be submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board.

Once that is done, the provided proposal would be reviewed by the Board and would have to be approved before licensing would be given to the chosen company. The mayor wants to keep the process moving so a casino can be added to the Chicago area as quickly as possible.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.