Developers Provide Insight into Chicago Casino Proposals
Casino companies vying for licensing in Chicago recently presented their project ideas to the public.
The process of bringing a casino to Chicago continues as interested parties have recently submitted their proposals to the public. The University of Illinois in Chicago hosted the event within its Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum, with city leaders and the public getting an inside look at the providers plans. The goal is to pick a finalist and the Gaming Board will issue licensing. An expanded gaming bill from 2019 allowed the casino’s creation and tax revenues will go to the public pension liability needs.
To kick off the presentation, Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke, thanking the gaming companies as well as the development teams for betting on Chicago. She said the city is not going to waste the opportunity and will maximize it for the benefit of the residents to ensure Chicago has a stable financial future.
Bally’s Corporation and Rush Street Gaming were in attendance, both submitting two proposals each. Hard Rock International submitted one proposal. When presenting their ideas, the development teams talked about their commitment to inclusion and diversity within their casinos.
Loop Capital has teamed up with Hard Rock to propose a casino at ONE Central. CEO, founder, and chairman of Loop Capital, Jim Reynolds, commented that there is focus on providing more opportunity for minority communities by offering ownership interest.
Neil Bluhm’s Rush Street Gaming has two ideas for casinos. The first cost $1.3 billion and would be titled Rivers Chicago at McCormick. Farpoint Development is behind the build. The idea is to redevelop the Lakeside Center and bets could begin within a year since the property already has infrastructure in place.
Bluhm tried to take a hit at Bally’s Corporation during its presentation, stating that Chicago needs an experienced developer at the helm, one that has a steady hand, saying it is not the time for on-the-job training. Bally’s did not take kindly to the comment and stated that they do not have any other gambling interests in Chicago and are conflict free to implement their plans.
Bally’s has proposed two sites for a casino, one titled River West Chicago Tribune Publishing Center and the other McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard. The second might be up against an issue as the property has a previous lease deal signed with another developer.
Both of the plans would invest $1.8 billion into a casino project and will take place in two phases. Bally’s plan for the South Side has opposition as Alderman Sophia King does not want to allow a casino near the Bronzeville area.
Hard Rock International has plans to bring a casino near Soldier Field. The company would spend $1.7 billion and expand a retail district and transit hub in the process.
Open by 2025
For Mayor Lightfoot, she wants to see a permanent casino open in Chicago by 2025. A temporary casino could offer services for two years while the casino is being constructed. The goal is to pick a finalist by mid-2022 so that the process can move on as planned.
The five plans have an investment amount ranging from $1.3 billion to $2 billion, all of which are quite significant by what they will offer and contribute to the community. The number of slot games on offer will be more than 2,000 and, in some instances, over the 3,000-machine mark. Table games would be much lower, with anywhere from 166 to 190 options.
All the plans also include a hotel except for the Rush Street project at McCormick. For that plan, the property would use a hotel near McCormick Place at the convention center.