Chicago officials disclosed further details regarding the five proposals the Windy City has received for an integrated casino resort. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a recent statement all five proposals are in accord with the officials’ vision to deliver a premium gaming experience in Illinois’ biggest city. In turn, this will encourage considerable economic growth and create employment opportunities for the local community.
According to Mayor Lightfoot, each of the five proposals boasts a distinctive vision for the planned integrated casino resort. She confirmed the committees tasked with reviewing the proposals are ready to start discussing the five projects. According to estimates of the Chicago city officials, each of the five proposals has the potential to fetch approximately $200 million in the form of annual taxes once casino operations start.
The officials confirmed they are currently drawing up a schedule for public hearings and meetings that will eventually help determine the City Council’s final decision. In their words, the bid’s winner could be announced as early as March next year. Once the City Council chooses a winning bidder, they will transfer it for approval to the state regulator, the Illinois Gaming Board.
Bally’s and Neil Bluhm with Two Bids Each
Bally’s participates in the bidding process with two proposed locations, one at the McCormick Place Truck Marshalling and another one at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center. Estimated at $1.6 billion, the Tribune Publishing Center site is expected to house 95 gaming tables, 2,700 slot machines, a luxury hotel, a music venue, and outdoor space for recreation. Bally’s second proposal for McCormick Place is similar but the company has promised the city an upfront payment of $50 million, twice as much it has pledged for the Tribune location.
American billionaire Neil Bluhm also participates in the bidding process with two proposals, the first one being the Rivers Chicago at the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place. This project is likely to be the less expensive alternative. It proposes to readapt the already existing Lakeside Center rather than building a whole new structure for the purpose. The Rivers Chicago venue will have 190 gaming tables and around 2,600 slot machines. The project also includes the renovation of the 4,188-seat Arie Crown Theater. Bluhm’s other project is The 78, with a proposed site in the riverfront entertainment district.
The fifth bid comes from Hard Rock, which proposes a $1.7 billion casino resort situated at the One Central project site. The main issue here is that said project relies on a multi-billion transit center that is publicly subsidized. Both Mayor Lightfoot and Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker frown upon this idea. The project includes building a new Hard Rock Hotel with a maximum of 500 rooms. The bidders are confident their project might bring in an extra $70 million in gambling revenue for Chicago and another $81 million for the state of Illinois. The five applicants participating in the bidding process will present their proposals publicly on December 16.