Officials Reveal Details of Five Chicago Casino Proposals Received

Chicago Casino Gambling Background
The office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released last Friday details of the five proposals that the city has received for the planned gambling casino in the heart of the city.

In a statement, Mayor Lightfoot said:

“The caliber of the proposals are in line with our vision to develop a world-class experience in Chicago that will drive significant economic growth and employment opportunities for our communities. Each proposal provides a unique vision for what Chicago’s casino-resort would look like, and our expert review committees are ready to dive into discussions to usher in a new and exciting era for our city.”

City officials have estimated that any of the five proposals would bring in roughly $200M in taxes per year once fully operational. In a morning briefing, officials said they are preparing the schedule of briefings and public hearings that will lead to a final vote from the City Council. According to officials, that vote could come as early as March 2022. The winning bidder picked by the City will then be sent to the Illinois Gaming Board for approval.

Bally’s Has Two Bids

Bally’s has two bids one located at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center and another at the McCormick Plack Truck Marshalling. Tre Tribune location is valued at $1.8 billion and is expected to produce a 3,600 gaming positions casino, a 500-room high-rise hotel, and a 3,000 seat, 70,000 square foot entertainment venue. Along with this bid, Bally’s offered an upfront ”incentive payment” of $25M

The second bid is very similar to the first one, although it is slightly smaller in terms of investment amount at $1.6 billion. The McCormick venue is valued at $1.6 billion and Bally’s would make an upfront payment of $50M if awarded.

Both proposals reference allotting some of 4,000 gaming positions allowed to Midway and O’Hare Airports, in consultation with the local government of Chicago.

Two Bids Involving Neil Bluhm

Chicago casino mogul Neil Bluhm is also involved in two bids. The first is the Rivers Chicago at McCormick which is being proposed at the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. The proposal calls for the rehabilitation of Lakeside Center which would make things faster by doing away with constructing a new structure. This location would have 2,600 slot machines and 190 gaming tables while also renovating the 4,200 seat Arie Crown Theater.

The other one is called Rivers 78 Gaming which proposes a location at the 8-acre riverfront entertainment district at the north end of the mixed-use 78 neighborhood. The project is worth $2 billion and includes a 2,800 position casino with a 300-room hotel, and an anchorage on the South Branch of the Chicago River. Bluhm plans to operate a riverboat casino next to the 78 while the permanent structure is being built.

The final bid is from Hard Rock Chicago which intends to use the ONE Central project site. The $1.7 billion proposal would include a 3,000 position casino, a 500-room high-rise hotel, and an entertainment area that will live up to Hard Rock’s signature music vibe. Had Rock is is pitching for a temporary site at the Lakeside Building Center while the ONE location is still being constructed.