Chicago Extends Casino Proposal Deadline

Chicago extends the deadline for casino proposal

The process of applying for a casino license in Chicago, Illinois as officials announced an extended deadline for proposals into October.

A casino is coming to Chicago, Illinois, eventually. The process has taken some time and right now, city officials are accepting proposals for a gaming venue. Late last week, the city announced that more than two months are being provided for proposals to be sent in by operators. The deadline is now set for October 29 as officials want to see impactful bids presented.

More Time Provided

Originally, Chicago officials set a deadline of August 23 for proposals to be sent in. Now, the deadline is much later. It seems major companies are showing interest in the license but need more time to get a plan together. In a recent statement, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the extra time will allow companies that are interested to secure financing and put research into how they would go about offering casino gaming in the major city.

It is expected that the development will cost a billion dollars as officials want to see the casino created near or actually in downtown Chicago. Lightfoot said that the longer deadline will allow the city to receive more impactful proposals.

Which Companies are in Contention?

Big names are being thrown around as possible contenders, with Rush Street Gaming in the fray. The local company is expected to place a bid for the casino, as the company already offers gaming in the state via Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

The Des Plaines property is located near O’Hare International Airport, in the suburbs of Chicago. It is the largest casino in the state currently. The company has major connections in Chicago and it would not be surprising to see Rush Street produce a proposal.

Several months ago, when the request for proposals opened, the mayor said that she hoped to see major operators from Las Vegas in the mix. She also said the review process involving the casino operators would be transparent.

So far, only Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International are the only gaming companies based in Las Vegas that showed interest. Aside from Rush Street, the only other company to indicate it was interested in the process is Hard Rock International.

While the extension gives Chicago more time to receive a quality proposal, it also sets back the time in which the casino will be operational. It was expected initially that the final applicant would be chosen by next year early on and then the project could move forward. Bidders can also choose to submit a proposal as well to offer slot machines at the Midway and O’Hare airports.

A big challenge facing the casino plan is that the tax rate connected to the revenues is high. Back in 2019, when a law passed to allow a casino in Chicago, the gross receipt tax and first responder pensions levy created a huge tax of 72%. It took some time, but the rate is now down to around 40%.

This percentage may still seem high to some operators, which could cut down on the number of proposals submitted. Officials also want to see the project completed in one phase. They want a casino and hotel, along with other amenities. Overall, the goal is to have the new casino up and running by 2025.

There is a possibility that a temporary venue could open sooner. It is unclear if this will actually happen though. City officials are pushing hard to see the casino come to fruition, but the process is taking time, with expected deadlines now delayed due to the recent proposal extension.

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.