The Push to Open a Real Casino in Chicago Continues

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

For years, officials in Illinois have been looking at plans to open a Class III casino in the city of Illinois. It hasn’t been easy and several huge delays have come up getting this venue up and running. It now appears that the push to open a real casino in Chicago is once again ramping up.

Many of the leaders in this city feel now is a great time to get this property up and running. Unfortunately, there are still some issues getting in the way. Today, we’ll talk about when this Chicago casino could eventually start operating.

Let’s get into it!

The US Casino Industry Shows Signs of Recovery

There has been a huge amount of attention placed on the land-based casino industry over the past year. In March of 2020, this entire industry came to a screeching halt. States across the country were forced to order their casinos to shut down.

This affected certain areas more than others. Places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City were hit extremely hard. These cities are known as major gambling hubs and rely heavily on tourism. When the casinos shut down, tourism rates plummeted.

Some clear signs are now pointing to a recovery for this industry. Infection rates are beginning to drop in many areas of the country. As a result, several casino hubs are seeing an easing of major restrictions.

Tourism is beginning to increase as these restrictions are lifted. Las Vegas casinos recently began operating at 35% occupancy. Some experts believe that this city will begin seeing a massive surge of visitors by the time summer rolls around.

Several states are now interested in expanding their casino industries. That includes Illinois, which passed a capital plan allowing new casinos to open around the state back in 2019.

Chicago has been interested in opening a new casino for years. For several reasons, this has not taken place. There now seems to be some progress being made.

Lori Lightfoot Wants to See a Real Casino in Chicago Soon

Chicago has never been home to a real Class III casino. Many have complained of this fact and believe a casino in the Windy City would be hugely successful. Finally, in mid-2019, state officials agreed and approved a plan to open a gambling venue here.

The state initially set extremely high tax rates on this property. As a result, no companies expressed interest in operating a casino here. This rate was eventually lowered as a way to make things more appealing for potential operators.

Location then became a major issue. City officials were finding it difficult to find the most ideal spot in Chicago to host this new property. There are still a few possible locations being considered throughout Chicago.

There is now some real progress being made to open a real casino in Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot claims she wants to choose a winning bidder to host this new casino before the end of the year. Companies can begin sending their proposals to operate this venue in April.

“This is taking too long,” Lightfoot said of the process. “I’m an impatient person by nature. This has been a long time coming. We are not going to undercut this opportunity.”

Analysts believe that a casino in Chicago will help to significantly boost tourism into the city. The revenue earned from this venue will also help to fund various state programs. It seems to be a win-win situation and officials now want to move forward with the plans to get this property operational.

We’ll be sure to offer more updates on this venue over the next few months.

Illinois’ Sports Betting Industry is Quickly Expanding

Legal sports betting finally arrived in Illinois on March 9, 2020. It has grown exponentially since that time thanks to looser rules on online sportsbook registrations. Illinois is now seeing regular increases in its sports gambling revenue.

$581.6 million was placed on sports bets here in January. That makes Illinois just the fourth state in the country to have a monthly sports betting handle surpassing $500 million. Sportsbooks earned $49.4 million in taxable revenue.

Most experts expect to see a significantly larger handle in February. This year’s Super Bowl will likely be the most-bet-on sporting event in history. Illinois will almost surely see its largest handle and revenue figures to date.

This state is clearly going all-in on its gambling industry. Sports betting is proving to be extremely profitable every single month. Several new casinos will soon begin operating throughout Illinois, as well.

It seems likely that we will see a real casino in Chicago open its doors within the next few years. Lori Lightfoot is being proactive at getting this process complete. Hopefully, the entire US casino industry is in a much better place by the time this property opens its doors.

Are you excited to see a new casino in Chicago? When do you expect to see it open? Let us know in the comments section below.