Three Finalists Named for Chicago Casino Project

Chicago Casino Gambling Background

Casino fans in Chicago received some bittersweet news this week regarding plans for the city’s new casino. On one hand, city officials announced that they have narrowed the list of contenders to three. However, they also moved the deadline for naming the winner back to at least the summer.

Chicago officials had been considering five proposals from well-known casino developers. With the list of contenders cut down to three, voters can take a closer look at each proposal. However, Chicago city officials want the public to be heavily involved in the decision. The inclusion of public opinion

The remaining finalists consist of some of the biggest casino developers in the US. Bally’s, Hard Rock, and Rivers Casino are all still in play. Of the three, Bally’s has the most ambitious proposal. The Bally’s project is estimated to cost nearly $2 billion and includes a sports museum attached to the casino. All three proposals are projected to earn close to $150 million annually.

List of Casino Developers Narrowed to Three

Chicago city officials have been considering proposals for a new casino for several months now. There were five proposals in the running, but that list has been narrowed down to three. All three of the remaining proposals would be set in different parts of the Windy City.

Bally’s had two proposals on the table for Chicago’s casino project. However, their proposal set at McCormick Place did not make the final cut. Instead, Bally’s will focus on pushing their proposal for a casino at the Freedom Center site in River West. The 30-acre site would require Bally’s to purchase and demolish the Freedom Center printing plant to make way for a casino.

Hard Rock International is also still in the running to build a casino in Chicago. The Florida-based casino developer has proposed building a casino new Soldier Field. Hard Rock is willing to invest plenty of capital into their project. However, it also faces potential hurdles regarding other city projects and finding a site for a temporary casino.

Rounding out the list of finalists is Rivers Casino. Their proposal to build a casino at The 78 appears to be the underdog of the remaining bids. A recent survey found that local residents were overwhelmingly concerned about crime, traffic, and more at the proposed site. Rivers 78 would also have the lowest price tag of the remaining proposals at just $1.3 billion.

What Is the Next Step for Chicago’s Casino Plans?

Now that the field has been narrowed down to the top three, officials will take an even closer look at the remaining proposals. Originally, the city planned to announce the winning bid by the end of March. Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot hopes to have a decision by the beginning of the summer. The decision of which project to choose is a big one. So, it should come as no surprise that the city is taking its time to make a decision.

Part of the reason for the delay is that city officials want more input from the community regarding which project to choose. All three of the remaining developers are scheduled to have meetings open to the public to discuss their proposals. The meetings are scheduled to take place in April.

According to Mayor Lightfoot, the remaining proposals align with the city’s goals for a Chicago casino. For instance, all three projects would include giving money to police and fire department pension funds. Still, the projects have received criticism from the locals. The casino developers will have a chance to address the public’s concerns at the meetings next month.

Comparing the Three Remaining Chicago Casino Proposals

Of the remaining bids, Bally’s casino proposal is by far the most expensive. The casino giant wants to build a casino at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center. In total, the proposed casino in River West would cost an estimated $1.8 billion. Plans include a massive casino, hotel, nightclub, and even a sports museum. The Bally’s project is projected to earn the city between $176 to $191 million.

The second-largest project is the proposed Hard Rock casino at One Central. Near the historic Soldier Field, the casino project would include a 500-room hotel and 3,500 seat entertainment venue. It would cost an estimated $1.7 billion to construct. When completed, the Hard Rock Chicago is projected to earn Chicago up to $185 million each year.

Finally, we have the proposed Rivers Casinos project at The 78. The Rivers’ proposal has faced a lot of public opposition so far. However, Rush Street Gaming, which owns Rivers Casinos, is based out of Chicago. The hometown connection could sway some voters. It is projected to cost $1.62 billion and could generate north of $146 million annually.


Plans for a casino in Chicago are slowly but surely moving forward. Windy City officials announced that the list of candidates for the casino project has been cut down to three. The remaining developers are scheduled to hold meetings next month to discuss their projects with the public.

All of the remaining projects are proposed by major US casino developers. Still in the running are Bally’s, Hard Rock International, and Rivers Casinos. Chicago Mayor Lightfoot hopes to have a decision by this summer.

According to city officials, the remaining projects all align with the city’s plans for a Chicago casino. The selected project will offer more than just new gambling options for bettors. It will also give Chicagoans new hope for economic prosperity and employment opportunities.