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Chicago Mayor Urges State Regulator to Speed Up Casino Licensing

Mayor Lori Lightfoot encouraged the Illinois Gaming Board to take urgent actions and evaluate the potential developer of the long-awaited Chicago casino. Those interested in the project are expected to submit their bids until Thursday, which is the reason why the state’s mayor is requiring the Illinois regulator to speed up its authorization process.

Leaders of Chicago fought for over three decades to authorize a casino based in the city and it has almost been two years since Lightfoot’s office managed to convince lawmakers to approve the launch of a casino location in Chicago. Unfortunately, the first city casino may not launch in the next four years. As Lightfoot started running out of patience, she required the Illinois regulator to speed up its authorization process.

Lightfoot Requires Illinois Regulator to Act Expeditiously

The state’s mayor prepared to meet with potential casino developers on Thursday, allowing them to submit their bids for the first casino site in Chicago. Before the meeting with casino developers, Lightfoot urged the Illinois Gaming Board to stop dragging the process as the regulator has the final say on which developer will receive the right to launch the first city casino.

Once the state regulator receives a proposal for the casino’s developer, it is up to them to quickly assess the operator and authorize the launch of the first legal Chicago gambling house, said Lightfoot. Although she did not want to overlook the Board’s work, Lightfoot noted that the regulator must “speed up” its authorization process.

After the bill that allowed huge gambling expansion in Illinois was passed by Gov. J. B. Pritzker in 2019, another five municipalities were also granted casino licenses. Unfortunately, the leaders in these municipalities had the same complaints as Lightfoot. While it has been seventeen months since other casino developers have submitted their bids to the Illinois regulator, only one casino project in Rockford was approved. If it was not for Mayor Tom McNamara’s constant urges, however, this project may still have not been authorized by the board.

Illinois Gaming Board Delays Casino Authorizations Due to Global Pandemic

Unfortunately, the Chicago casino project is already running behind the other municipalities that were granted casino licenses. The reason for that was Chicago’s leaders having to require a change to the gaming tax as it was deemed too heavy to motivate any potential casino developers to submit bids.

According to the Illinois Gaming Board Administrator, Marcus Fruchter, the reason for the regulator’s delay of authorization of casino projects was the global Covid-19 pandemic. Fruchter assured that the Gaming Board will continue to be diligent with its assessments and will strictly follow all requirements for issuing new casino licenses.

As Lightfoot’s office has been continuously working on the launch of the first casino city, Chicago’s mayor expressed her excitement about finally executing the project. Lightfoot noted that the casino should go online as expeditiously as possible, with no regulatory delays standing in the way of her and her office’s hard work.

 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.