Is a New Chicago Casino Really a Good Idea?

Today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed off on a $45 billion capital plan for the state. This plan lays out the framework for a new Chicago casino and resort to be constructed. Not everyone feels this is a good idea, though.Chicago City Skyline

Some of the state’s most powerful gambling groups feel there are too many regulations and restrictions for a casino in the Windy City to thrive. Today, we’re looking into why Pritzker is allowing this new casino. We’ll also discuss the potential issues this casino may face in the future. Let’s get into it!

Illinois’ Laws Towards Land-Based and Online Casinos

Gambling has taken place in Illinois for decades. In the mid-1900s, lawmakers in the state decided to crack down on the gambling industry, forcing all casino establishments to close their doors. Illinois went through a gambling dry spell during this time, where most forms of gambling took place in small, illegal venues under the table.

In 1991, a new law was passed here that allowed casinos to operate, as long as they are located on riverboats. A number of these river casinos quickly began operating with varying degrees of success.

Over the past decade, Illinois offered gaming licenses for three casinos to operate on land here. Overall, there are now 10 casinos in the state. The industry has continued to grow, and more casinos are on the horizon.

Illinois’ laws towards online gambling are pretty lenient. Officials here have not yet taken the steps to regulate internet casino gambling, yet a huge number of amazing Illinois online casinos are available right now. It’s likely that these sites will become regulated in the near future.

Illinois Capital Plan Opens Doors for a New Chicago Casino

Lawmakers in this state have been working hard to draft a new state capital plan. Governor J.B. Pritzker officially signed the plan today, which will help to “fix what’s broken in Illinois.” It includes a plan to reconstruct roads, bridges, schools, and add a number of new gambling establishments throughout the state.

Pritzker calls the bill “the most comprehensive reconstruction effort in this state’s history.”

“Together we passed the largest, most robust capital plan in this state’s history,” Pritzker said. “We’re investing $45 billion over 6 years to fix what’s broken and repair what’s needed.”

This $45 billion dollar plan allows a new Chicago casino. The casino will offer 4,000 gambling options. Other casinos throughout the state will have their limit on games raised from 1,200 to 2,000. Five more casinos will also be constructed in Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, Williamson County, and another unnamed city in Cook County.

A new “racino” will also open somewhere in Cook Country. It will be the first new horse race track to open in Illinois since 1946.

So why are some of the state’s top gambling officials claiming the Chicago casino will be a flop?

Major Casino Operators Staying Out of Chicago

On the surface, it’s extremely exciting to hear a new Chicago casino is coming. Looking at the details of the plan, however, gives an explanation of why so many companies are choosing to avoid this area. This casino will give up two-thirds of its revenue to the city and police and fire pensions.

Tim Wilmott, CEO of Penn National Gaming Inc., believes the high tax rate and numerous restrictions will negatively affect the casino. He also states that with more casinos spread around the state, the Chicago casino will struggle to gain a foothold in the market.

“An already saturated market is going to get a lot more supply,” Wilmott said in an interview. “It’s going to make the Chicago casino a very difficult investment to make,” he said. 

Some of the biggest casino companies in the US seem to feel the same way. The Las Vegas Sands claims it’s not entering the Chicago market. Caesars, which recently merged with Eldorado Resorts, hasn’t shown much interest either.

There is also discussion that the casino in Chicago be constructed in an economically-struggling part of the city. With all things considered, maybe this casino won’t be “big city gold-standard” that the governor wants it to be.

How do you think the new Chicago casino will do? Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation as they come out!