Chicago Mayor Lists Five Potential Casino Sites

by Administrator

City Mayor Lori Lightfoot listed on Wednesday five potential sites for the facility to make the first important step toward the realization of the casino plan

Discussions of bringing casino gambling to Chicag have been up in the air for years, but little progress was seen in that direction up until recently.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last month a comprehensive gambling expansion package that, among other things, authorizes up to six new casinos around the state, including one in Chicago.

City Mayor Lori Lightfoot listed on Wednesday five potential sites for the facility to make the first important step toward the realization of the casino plan. The five sites include Harborside at 111th and Bishop Ford Freeway; Pershing Road and State Street; the former Michael Reese hospital at 31st and Cottage Grove; Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue; and the former U.S. Steel parcel at 8th and Lake Shore Drive.

All five sites are located in the city’s South and West sides. Many were surprised to see that Mayor Lightfoot did not include McCormick Place East (also known as Lakeside Center) and Navy Pier. Both sites were previously mentioned as potential locations of Chicago’s first-ever Las Vegas-style casino.

It should also be noted that none of the five proposed locations is situated in downtown Chicago. Previous discussions involved proposals for the gambling venue to be located namely in the heart of the city.

Gov. Pritzker, who voiced his support for gambling expansion in the state during his gubernatorial campaign, has expressed preference for a casino outside downtown Chicago. He has also not been particularly keen on McCormick Place being a potential site.

When Will Chicago Have a Casino?

It is hard to say when the city will have its first casino as what follows next is a comprehensive site selection process that will certainly take some time. After Mayor Lightfoot has narrowed down the list of potential locations to five, a consultant tapped by the Illinois Gaming Board will now study the financial feasibility of each of the five proposed sites.

Union Gaming Analytics of Las Vegas has been selected as the consulting firm that will assess the proposed casino sites. The feasibility study will have to outline the approximate financial impact of each of the five locations. However, it will not be up to Union Gaming to select the winner in the casino site race.

The gambling venue will be expected to create new revenues that will fuel Chicago’s “severely underfunded pension funds” and to generate new jobs and economic opportunity for communities across the city.

City officials have said that before the casino site is announced, they will seek feedback from the host community.

Following Wednesday’s announcement of the list of potential sites, Alderman Sophia King condemned the proposal for the addition of a casino at the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital as “appalling and offensive.”

She went on to say that the surrounding community is adamantly against a casino as “casinos are known to have deleterious impacts on existing communities, especially communities of color.”