For more than two years, state officials in Illinois have been working hard to open a new casino-resort in Chicago. Unfortunately, a huge number of issues have kept potential casino operators away. It now appears that the city is extending the deadline for companies to apply for a license to run this property.
Today, we’ll talk about why this deadline was extended. We will also discuss some of the ways that Illinois’ gaming industry is set to expand over the next few years. There’s a lot to cover.
Let’s get into it!
US Casinos Continue Seeing Boosts in Visitation Rates
Nearly all of 2021 has been hugely successful for the US casino industry. Major casino hubs have been seeing consistent jumps in their revenue and visitation rates. Some feared that this upward trend would be coming to a halt due to the spread of the new Delta variant.
As infection rates continued to grow, health officials around the country began recommending new measures. Some of these measures affected casinos. Various casino hubs around the country started ordering restrictions inside casinos once again.
Over in Las Vegas, masks are now required on the casino floor. Both patrons and employees inside of the casinos in Las Vegas need to wear these masks at all times. Similar measures have been set in place in various other popular casino destinations.
Fortunately, these new rules do not seem to be impacting these casino’s visitation rates. Many areas of the country continue to report increases in their revenue and tourism numbers. It’s fantastic news for these companies and shows how resilient this industry can be.
Between April and June, casinos in Las Vegas pulled in the best revenue figures since 2006. It seems that this will continue, despite the recently-ordered mask mandate. People around the country are clearly still interested in gambling inside popular casinos.
Illinois is home to a large number of popular casinos. Unfortunately, it does not appear that a casino will be opening in Chicago anytime soon.
Opening a Casino-Resort in Chicago is Taking Longer than Expected
Over the past decade, Illinois’ gambling industry has expanded significantly. Today, both tribal and commercial casinos are able to operate here. A huge number of these Class III casinos are spread throughout the state.
Illinois now also allows and regulates sports betting. Both land-based and mobile sports gambling are allowed in the state. In the short time this industry has been live here, Illinois has already generated the second-largest sports betting market in the country.
Since 2019, work has been ongoing to get a casino-resort in Chicago. State officials set unusually high tax rates on this venue that have kept most companies from expressing an interest in operating this property, though. Very few casino operators seem interested in applying for a license to run this proposed venue.
News broke this week that Chicago was extending the deadline for companies to apply for one of these licenses. The original deadline was set for August 23. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has officially pushed this back to October 29. The Mayor released a statement on this situation to the media this week.
“Extending the deadline for interested bidders will allow the City to collect as many robust, impactful and transformative proposals as possible,” she said. “I look forward to seeing these bids roll in and working very closely with whichever team is ultimately chosen to develop Chicago’s first-ever casino.”
Most of the country’s biggest gaming companies no longer seem interested in operating this venue. Several small, regional companies are still determined to apply for a license. We’ll be sure to offer more updates on this situation over the next few months.
Sports Betting Revenue Continues to Increase in Illinois
Illinois is one of the many states around the country to embrace the sports gambling industry. The first sportsbooks here officially launched in March of 2020. Revenue from this industry has been steadily increasing since the first sportsbooks launched here.
Not long ago, reports on Illinois’ sports betting revenue for the month of June came out. More than $476 million was placed on sports wagers in the state over the course of the month. That represents a slight handle drop when compared to May.
Interestingly, gross gaming revenue in the state came out to $47.5 million. That represents a staggering 31% increase from May. The state earned considerably more money via taxes in June as well.
Many analysts expect to see revenue figures increasing here over the next few months. The start of the NFL season is almost guaranteed to draw in a massive number of wagers. It’s an exciting time for the sports gambling companies operating here.
Stay tuned for more revenue reports here. It won’t be long before the reports on the revenue figures for the month of July come out. Hope is that the sports betting companies here saw another increase in their earnings.
Do you expect to see a casino-resort in Chicago anytime soon? Let us know in the comments section below!