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Chicago Mayor Hopes City Authorities Will Choose Operator of the Planned Casino by the End of 2021

The Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, revealed she hopes for the local authorities to choose the winning bidder for the only casino license in the city by the end of 2021.

The city of Chicago is set to start its request-for-proposal phase at the beginning of April, with the state’s Gaming Board set to choose the winner of the license in the months to follow. The exact timeline of the request-for-proposal phase will be announced in the upcoming weeks, with Mayor Lightfoot saying she hopes to see the planned casino operational by 2025 at the latest.

The idea of hosting a casino in Chicago has been backed by Ms. Lightfoot as an option that would help the city raise fresh money. Previously, in an interview, the Mayor said the whole process is taking too long.

The chance for a casino expansion has been seen as one of the rare opportunities for a major city in the US to grant an exclusive casino license. State lawmakers approved the expansion in 2019 but the process has been delayed – at first by some additional conditions that made the project less attractive to gambling operators that might have been interested in running such a casino, and then by the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

Request-for-Proposal Phase for the Chicago Casino Got Delayed

In 2020, the state legislature went back and made some adjustments to the requirements for the casino, with the overall tax rate being reduced from about 72% to about 40%. As explained by a consultant who advised state regulatory bodies at the time, other terms also got subject to changes, including the casino license fee that is now allowed to be paid over six years instead of two, as it was initially planned.

Following the state lawmakers’ decision to pass the bill under which Chicago could get a casino, Mayor Lightfoot had shared that she wanted to be given the chance to suggest locations for the casino that would be most impactful when it comes to neighborhood redevelopment. She promised flexibility at the time, saying she was expecting the operators to propose their chosen locations, too.

The new conditions also include the operation of as many as 4,000 gaming positions, including at the O’Hare International Airport. Furthermore, gambling companies that have been interested in hosting a casino venue in Chicago have been asking the city for assurance that local authorities will not allow others to occupy bars and other locations with slot machines. The electronic gambling devices are already present in a significant part of the state.

According to Ms. Lightfoot, Chicago could become home to a large entertainment complex and a casino destination that would attract both local people and tourists to the city. The gambling operator that is chosen to establish the casino venue, will also get permission to host a resort, including a hotel, restaurants and spa. The city of Chicago has been seeking the opportunity to add a casino within its borders, seeing it as a chance for a new source of revenue that would add a fresh money flow to the city coffers.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.