For years, officials in Illinois have been interested in getting a major casino-resort open in the city of Chicago. Unfortunately, numerous issues have come up trying to move these plans forward. It now appears there are very few companies interested in opening the first casino in Chicago.
It’s disappointing news for gambling fans to hear. Today, we’ll talk about what needs to be done for this casino to open. We’ll discuss how the state’s current gambling industry is faring right now.
Let’s get into it!
Casino Officials Continue to Express Fear Over Additional Restrictions
The events that unfolded in 2020 proved just how vulnerable the US casino industry really is. For months last year, all of the casinos across the country were completely shut down. This took a devastating toll on the cities that these casinos are located in.
Even after reopening to the public, US casinos were forced to abide by intense health regulations. That includes lowered capacity limits and mandatory mask-wearing. These rules kept many individuals from making the journey to places like Las Vegas.
Things have been steadily improving for casinos throughout 2021. Tourism to major gambling hubs has been increasing and gambling revenue has been steadily rising. Unfortunately, there are some that fear a return to how things were last year.
The spread of the new Delta variant has many health officials worried. Some areas of the country have already begun ordering a new fresh set of health regulations. Several major casino officials are now expressing fear that their casinos could be ordered to implement more restrictions in the near future.
This would be a major blow for the major casinos in Las Vegas. These properties are beginning to see pre-pandemic levels of revenue right now. If a new wave of restrictions is implemented, much of the progress that was set in place here has been undone.
A group of officials in Illinois continues pushing to open a major casino-resort in Chicago. More issues continue to get in the way of this venue opening, though.
Here’s Another Update on the First Casino in Chicago
Illinois is known for its lenient laws toward gambling. Today, both casino gambling and sports betting are completely legal. In fact, the state’s sports betting industry is now the second-largest in the country after only New Jersey.
Back in 2019, lawmakers here approved a Capital Plan that allows for several new casinos to open around the state. This new plan also allows for a Class III casino to open its doors in Chicago. Unfortunately, getting this property up and running has been much more difficult than some initially expected.
Much of that has to do with the state’s regulations. Illinois set an unusually high tax rate on this Chicago casino. This has kept many of the country’s biggest gaming companies from expressing interest in opening the first casino in Chicago.
It seems that casino companies are still skeptical about the opportunity here. Four companies have expressed interest in opening this property. Two have formally dropped out and another seems to be showing more hesitancy. Alan Woinski, president of Gaming USA, spoke about this situation to the media this week.
“The casinos in the state have been in nothing but a downward spiral for a decade, except for Rivers,” Woinski said. “There’s no reason to believe that if you add a casino downtown that you’ll do anything but cannibalize the others, including Rivers. It’s kind of a zero-sum game and everybody loses.”
It seems there are still a huge number of issues in the way of this property opening its doors. Stay tuned for more updates on the effort to open a casino here over the next few months!
Will Sports Stadiums in Chicago Soon Allow Sportsbooks?
Illinois is now one of the country’s biggest and most profitable sports gambling hubs. Here, both online and land-based sportsbooks are operating. Some have been disappointed to see that none of the sports stadiums here have launched any sportsbooks, though.
When Illinois first launched its sports gambling bills, it was expected that stadiums here would allow sportsbooks. That hasn’t been the case, though. Chicago has set a ban on sportsbooks inside casinos since 2020.
This could soon change. News broke last week that Alderman Walter Burnett proposed a new ordinance that would allow for sports stadiums to purchase sports betting licenses. This could allow for Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, the United Center, and Wintrust Arena to each launch their own sportsbooks.
It remains to be seen if this new ordinance will gain any support from fellow lawmakers. Many in Illinois are beginning to see how much revenue can be earned from this industry. Sports fans are excited to hear that sports betting could be allowed inside stadiums.
If approved, this ordinance would also allow for sports betting to become available in the first casino in Chicago. This casino has to be built first, though. As of now, very few companies seen interested in opening this venue.
When do you expect a casino to finally open in Chicago? Do you think a gambling venue here will be successful? Let us know in the comments section below!