Mayor Lightfoot Continues Pushing for Chicago Casino in Springfield

Illinois State Flag, Casino Slot Machine
On Tuesday, Illinois Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a major proponent for Chicago getting its own casino, met with legislators in Springfield in a play to push progress forward in making the casino dream a reality for the city.

While Lightfoot’s November pitch for locking down what she believes would be an incredible revenue source for the state went amiss, Tuesday’s meeting seemed much more promising. Lightfoot said great conversations were had and she believes steps were made in the direction for a casino being built in the Windy City.

Lightfoot has been working hard to recruit the right players needed to further her Casino cause. Last year, she even took it up to the Capitol to rally up more support. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get the additional support she was looking for, with some lawmakers even requesting a slice of the Chicago casino revenue pie for their districts.

Capitol lawmakers cited their concerns of regionalism, and why they should even help Chicago in this pursuit. Eventually though, the lawmakers came to an agreement and decided to support Lightfoot’s plan.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that the support that was there is solid and that we get the additional votes that we need to get it over,” Lightfoot said.

Issues with a Chicago Casino

The major concern surrounding a casino being built in Chicago is the tax structure for possible developers. The tax structure came into light after a state-commissioned study called the taxes too burdensome for any real profit to be turned.

The state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability released a report earlier this month that found that the revenue from state’s 10 existing casinos, and the generated tax dollars made from them, have been on a consecutive seven-year decline.

The report begs the question of a Chicago casino being profitable, and raises concern of its necessity in the city.

Tuesday’s Meeting with the Caucus

In Springfield, Lightfoot met with both Republican and Democratic legislators. The four legislative leaders included the Senate Democrats, Republican caucuses, and Chicago democrats from both chambers.

The trip to the Illinois House Republican caucus marks Lightfoot’s second visit since taking office. There, she addressed concerned from legislative leaders and provided the outline of her gaming proposal.

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said that by Lightfoot speaking to the caucus directly, she’s making a big difference by representing the state from top to bottom.

“It was great to have Mayor Lightfoot in front of our caucus today,” Harmon said. “She made a compelling case for why it’s important for the whole state that we clean up the gaming bill.”

If Approved, Chicago Will be the Largest American City to Have a Casino

Chicago has been pushing for a Las Vegas-style casino for years, in what Lightfoot and other supporters say will indefinitely boost tourism and be the much-needed revenue source the city needs. If state lawmakers give the casino the green light, it will be massive.

A Chicago casino would even be large enough to compete with those on the Las Vegas Strip, as lawmakers approved nearly 4,000 gambling positions, slots or table seats. Famous Las Vegas casinos, such as Caesars Palace and Aria, by contrast, have around 1,500 slots per casino.