Chicago moved closer to the arrival of slots in Windy City on Friday when it received five proposals from developers looking to build Chicago’s first casino complex.
Proposals were originally due in August, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced an extension until Friday, giving potential bidders more time to assess the opportunity.
Plans for a casino in Chicago have been worked out for years, with city officials calling the project “one of the most attractive casino development opportunities in the country.”
The following offers have been submitted, the Lightfoot office said on Friday:
- Bally’s Company – Two proposals for two different sites – the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, located at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard; casino operations would be self-managed
- RH Chicago, LLC – Single site proposed; operations would be managed by the Hard Rock International subsidiary
- Rivers Chicago at McCormick LLC – Single site proposed, possibly in the McCormick Place sector; casino operations would be managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLC
- Rivers 78 Gaming, LLC – Single site proposed; casino operations would be managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLC
A location has not been determined and will be the responsibility of the developer.
The casino complex is expected to create thousands of jobs, including in construction, and boost existing businesses.
Income estimates vary, and the plan quickly encountered problems with its tax structure. A 2019 feasibility study by a Las Vegas-based consulting firm showed that it was too expensive to generate a lot of revenue, so lawmakers approved a change. Union Gaming Analytics then said that a downtown casino could make around $ 1 billion a year.
Whoever obtains the license will also be able to operate slot machines at both Chicago airports. Overall, the operator will be allowed up to 4,000 “playing positions”, or seats where bets are placed.
To generate early income for the cash-strapped city, the operator will also be allowed to open a “temporary casino” for up to two years at the site of their choice.
A review committee made up of representatives from city departments will determine the recommended successful bidder, but the timeline for such a decision is unknown, city officials said. The recommendation will be made by the review committee to Mayor Lightfoot who will ultimately make the decision with City Council approval.