Back in June, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker officially approved a new $45 billion capital plan that allows for the construction of five new casinos throughout the state. One of the casinos will be constructed in Chicago for the first time ever, yet high tax rates set on this gambling venue are pushing investors away. Recently, lawmakers in the state passed up on plans to lower the Chicago casino’s tax rates.
It’s disappointing news, particularly for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s been working hard to make the opening of a casino in her city feasible. Today, we’re going to look at what the state currently has planned for this gambling venue.
Let’s get into it!
Five New Casinos Set to Open in Illinois Over the Next Few Years
Officials in the state of Illinois have recently chosen to embrace the gambling industry. First, they approved plans to allow five new casinos in the state. Not long afterward, politicians here approved a bill to legalize and regulate sports gambling.
The move to increase the number of casinos in Illinois came as part of the new capital plan. Essentially, it’s a way to help improve the state’s infrastructure. Lawmakers want to rebuild roads, schools, bridges, and more. Money from the new casinos is one way to help achieve this.
Legal sports betting will also help to make things easier. Sports betting has been proven to bring in millions of dollars to states every single month. New Jersey, which only legalized this industry in the summer of last year, now has a more lucrative sports betting industry than Nevada’s.
For the first time, a casino will be opened in Chicago. At first, it seemed as if all of the biggest US casino companies would begin pushing to operate this casino. Unfortunately, the Chicago casino’s tax rates are extremely high. Many companies claim that because of this, it would be impossible to make a profit.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot seems to agree. Last week, she met with lawmakers and pitched her idea to lower the tax structure for this casino. Unfortunately, lawmakers didn’t seem interested in making any changes.
Illinois Lawmakers Pass On Plans to Change Chicago Casino’s Tax Rates
The Chicago casino has been trouble from the very start. First, officials needed to find a suitable location for this gambling venue. Several areas of the city were discussed yet many complained that none were suitable. Then, many began voicing their opinion that the Chicago casino’s tax rates were far too high.
The latter complaint certainly had some validity. The tax rates for this casino (of 72%) are some of the highest in the country. Mayor Lightfoot realizes that this is causing most companies to look the other way. She pitched her new tax plan to state officials last week.
Unfortunately, these lawmakers decided to pass on her new plan. They were unable to agree on a plan to change the tax structure. Due to this, no changes can be made until 2020.
Lightfoot claimed that she was “disappointed that a much-needed fix to the gaming bill won’t be made.” She also added that “the Chicago casino is still very much in the sightline.”
Hopefully, lawmakers can come to a new agreement in January. Until something changes, it’s highly unlikely that any company will invest in a Chicago casino.
What to Expect in the Future
It’s clear that something needs to change with the state’s new casino plans. Lawmakers here are still discussing where the additional four casinos will open. A decision on whether or not to award a south suburban casino license to Calumet City, Homewood, Lynwood or Matteson will be made by October of 2020.
It seems likely that in time, officials here will realize that the Chicago casino’s tax rates are too high. No company will invest in a venue that’s clearly not profitable.
The legalization of sports betting will certainly help things. Soon, both online and in-person sports betting will become available here. Revenue from this industry will shed light on just how profitable the state’s gambling industry really is.
It’s unclear exactly when the tax structure for the casino in Chicago will change. Governor Pritzker claims that he wants to help Lightfoot with her new plan.
Stay tuned for more Illinois gambling news over the next few months!