Chicago Receives Five Bids for First Casino Resort Project in the City


The city of Chicago has received a total of five bids for the casino-resort project.

According to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, her office has received a total of five proposals from four groups to operate the mega-casino that the city has been trying to land for several decades and she is thrilled with this development.

Said Mayor Lightfoot:

“The submission of bid responses represents a major step toward the thoughtful development of a casino resort that uplifts our businesses, employs and empowers our residents, and encourages tourism. We look forward to the next phase of discussions to bring this world-class entertainment experience to our city.”

Bally Submitted Two Proposals

Bally’s Corporation, HR Chicago, Rivers Chicago at McCormick, and Rivers 78 Gaming beat Friday’s deadline to submit the bids. Bally’s submitted two proposals for two different sites: one at the Near North site of the Chicago Tribune publishing center near Chicago Avenue and Halsted, and another at the McCormick Place truck marshaling yards south of the sprawling convention center.

Both proposals by Bally’s call for a $1.6 billion investment and will include a luxury hotel, indoor and outdoor entertainment space, fine dining, and a green space. According to Bally’s, minority investors have a total stake of 25% of the project, with investors including philanthropists, business owners, sports stars, celebrities, and even ordinary Chicagoans.

Neil Bluhm Going All-In

Chicago magnate Neil Bluhm’s Rush Street Gaming signaled that it was going all-in on a Chicago casino proposal by withdrawing its application for a casino at Waukegan. Friday’s announcement revealed that Bluhm’s company is spearheading two development groups with names that tip their hand on where they’d like to break ground: Rivers 78 Gaming LLC and Rivers Chicago at McCormick LLC.

Bluhm has long been considered as a shoo-in to get the Chicago casino project because of his successful track record running the state’s most successful gambling property in the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and his close ties with Mayor Lightfoot. Lightfoot received over $200,000 in campaign contributions from Bluhm’s daughters Leslie and Meredith.

Hard Rock Endorsed by Rick Nielsen

Hard Rock’s bid as HR Chicago LLC was endorsed by legendary Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen. It comes nine months after the company received approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to break ground on a casino project in Rockford and nearly six months after opening a casino in Gary, Indiana which is not even a one-hour drive from the office of the Chicago City Mayor

Hard Rock became controversial after it won the Rockford approval despite the fact that state gambling regulators considered disciplinary action against another corporation owned by one of the lead investors of the project.