At the beginning of the week alderpersons in Chicago wards that would supposedly host the proposed casino project took part in a special committee meeting on the final proposals, at which they asked some questions and shared some concerns.
As CasinoGamesPro already reported, the wards neighboring the proposed sites are concerned about the possible negative effect that the establishment of a casino could have on their communities. The casino gambling revenue has also been an important piece of Chicago’s financial future.
The members of the special city council committee on the casino project noted that its members are willing to play an active role in making the decision regarding the final location of the long-awaited casino project. Some of them were concerned about the effects of such a casino establishment on local communities and the costs associated with gambling addiction rates that would probably increase in case a casino is allowed in their wards.
Apart from that, alderpersons are also concerned about the effects of a casino establishment on traffic in all three areas where casino projects are supposed to be.
All three finalists – Bally’s Tribune, Rivers 78, and the Hard Rock Chicago – have their proposals localized in downtown Chicago. Also, all three of them faced opposition from the alderpersons originating from the wards that are supposed to host the companies’ proposed venues.
Casino Gambling Effects, Gambling Addiction and Traffic among the Most Serious Concerns of Chicago’s Alderpersons
The casino project of Bally’s involves the ward of Alderman Walter Barnett, who said that he is waiting for the special meetings to be held before making further commenting on the project and supporting or opposing the proposed gambling venue.
However, a recent survey of a River North residents’ association noted that almost 80% of local residents are strongly against the gambling giant’s proposal.
According to the city’s administration, it is now extremely important to further action on the project to take place, especially considering the fact that Chicago coffers lose direct revenues of $200 million every year a casino is not open there. Casino project proponents have noted that the revenue in question that could help Chicago pay policemen and firemen pensions is now being redirected to other states’ casinos, and to casinos in Indiana in particular.
Alderpersons have been worried that the city has hardly any options for generating revenue that would help it deal with its current fiscal challenges. Jennie Bennett, who is the CFO of the city and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, has noted that property taxes seemed to be the only alternative source of additional revenue of this scale for Chicago.
As mentioned above, alderpersons also raised some concerns regarding the traffic problems in all three wards where casino construction is supposed to be made. According to city consultants, the projects of Bally’s Tribune and Rivers 78, which are part of some larger developments that have already been approved, would not see much change. The transportation consultant Peter Lemon highlighted the fact that casinos have a different traffic profile than other establishments, as they are usually more oriented towards attracting customers on Friday and Saturday evenings.