Despite the fact that the Chicago casino efforts of Mayor Lori Lightfoot have been unsuccessful so far, a new tax structure has improved the odds for the establishment of such a venue. Still, it is too early to tell what fate the proposal would have.
The Las Vegas consulting firm that previously described the taxes, which were originally written into state law, as exceptionally heavy, said that a new tax structure could keep the Chicago casino proposal in the game. The firm had already shared that a large casino project in the city would be hard to attract developers in case taxes remain as high as originally planned.
Now, Union Gaming Analytics described the revised Chicago tax structure that was given the green light by the Legislature over the spring legislative session in May 2020 as much more acceptable for potential casino developers. The local Legislature agreed to reduce the effective tax rate imposed on gaming revenue from 72% to about 40%.
According to the firm, this step should be enough to help the city of Chicago attract gaming developers that are willing to establish a casino there. Analysts say that Chicago casino was already signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker but it is now time for the city to show its cards in order to attract the attention of casino developers, as the opportunity has been going very much unnoticed amid the coronavirus industry shutdown, the ongoing financial difficulties and the fact that development plans have been put on hold.
Chicago Casino Could Become Operational by 2025 If the Project Gets Regulatory Approval by the End of 2021
Union Gaming Analytics suggested that city authorities should think about issuing non-binding requests for information to casino developers and request the companies’ formal proposals early in 2021. According to experts, such a step would make sure that the casino plans remain on track for getting the Illinois Gaming Board’s approval by the end of 2021 and could result in the casino opening by 2025.
A spokesperson for Mayor Lightfoot’s office shared that the firm’s report has been taken for consideration by the city authorities but refused to provide any more details about their further plans.
The casino was approved as part of a large gambling expansion that Governor Pritzker signed into law in the summer of 2019. According to preliminary expectations, the tax revenue that would be brought by such a venue to Chicago’s coffers would help the Governor finally roll out his $45-billion capital improvement plan.
Now that the tax plan has been unveiled, it remains to be seen whether casino developers would be more proactive in getting a presence in the city and if they do, which will be the location that the eventual developer will choose to establish their casino in Chicago. Some industry insiders say that the venue must be situated near the city center in order to maximize profits, but Mayor Lightfoot already offered five sites in the South and West part of Chicago. The list, however, is not definitive, so the location for the casino could be anywhere in the city.