A new casino has gotten one step closer to coming to the south suburbs of Chicago.
According to media reports, Illinois gambling regulators have narrowed down the number of applicants to two, with one in Matteson, and another in close proximity to the border of East Hazel Crest and Homewood. Now, the supporters of the two casino projects are expected to make their presentations to the Illinois Gaming Board in the days to come.
The competent authorities are expected to make their final choice on the matter and select the casino license holder in 2022.
The Ilinois Gaming Board (IGB) has provided few reasons for its decision to dismiss the rest of the proposals for a casino in Chicago’s South Suburbs. The gambling regulatory body also did not provide details for its decision to favor the projects in Matteson and Homewood, but analysts believe that the fact these two bids are closer to downtown Chicago has played an important role in the ruling.
The Calumet City casino project was supported by Bo Jackson, a former National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) star. He, along with Illinois businessman Dan Fisher, had presented the state gambling authorities with their Southland Live! casino project – a casino development worth $275 million.
The Lynwood casino project has been unveiled by the federally recognized Ho-Chunk Nation, which currently owns and operates six casino venues in Wisconsin. The group has unveiled a project for the construction of a $390-million casino resort.
Only Two Applicants Left in the Competition for Chicago’s South Suburban Casino License
The Matteson casino project is led by Rob Miller, a Hinsdale businessman, and Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation, which already operates a number of casinos. It involves the construction and establishment of a $300-million gambling and entertainment venue that would feature a 123,000-square-foot casino floor and a 200-room hotel.
Sheila Chalmers-Currin, the President of Matteson Village, said that, in her opinion, the Gaming Board saw the project as a commitment to diversity and the local community.
The other project for the south suburbs of Chicago involves the Homewood area. The project there is led by Wind Creek Hospitality, which operates as the Alabama-based arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a federally recognized tribe that runs a number of casinos across the country. The proposal includes the establishment of a $300-million gambling and entertainment resort, featuring a 64,000-square-foot casino and a 21-story hotel.
Jay Dorris, the CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality, has said in an email that the development of such a casino venue would be the best move for the entire Southland region, as it would have a positive economic and community impact through new jobs, operational excellence and commitment to diversity.
New Casino in Chicago’s South Suburbs Comes as Part of Illinois’ Latest Gambling Expansion
The casino that is set to come to the Chicago south suburban area is to be established as part of a significant gambling expansion initiated by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019. The expansion, which has been among the biggest ones that the state has seen so far, will see six casinos added to the current 10 casino venues in Illinois.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, apart from Chicago and the South suburbs, the cities of Danville, Rockford, Waukegan, as well as Williamson County, have been allowed to host new casino venues. So far, the state’s regulatory body has given initial approval to casino projects in Rockford and Williamson County. The Danville casino project has also been moving forward step by step, while the city of Chicago is still seeking proposals for its mega casino project and has delayed the deadline for receiving such applications until October 29th.
Currently, the gambling regulatory bodies of the state of Illinois are taking into consideration two finalists for a new casino operating permit in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan.