The city of Chicago has now received five separate casino proposals, from four different bidders, following Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to give potential bidders an extra two months to submit formal plans. Bally’s Corporation has submitted two proposals for two different sites, with HR Chicago, Rivers Chicago at McCormick and Rivers 78 Gaming submitting single proposals. A review committee will recommend a proposal to the Mayor, who will seek City Council approval for her choice. It is anticipated that this process will take until early in 2022. In a statement, Mayor Lightfoot said: “The submission of bid responses represents a major step toward the thoughtful development of a casino-resort that uplifts our businesses, employs and empowers our residents and encourages tourism. We look forward to the next phase of discussions to bring this world class entertainment experience to our city.”
The submissions had to include a hotel with as many as 500 rooms, meeting space, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. The brief was “an entertainment and gaming destination to enhance the urban fabric of the surrounding neighbourhood.” The chosen casino operator will be authorised to build a temporary gambling operation while the permanent facility is being built, as well as installing slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports before the permanent casino is up and running. The expectation is that the permanent casino will be fully operational by 2025, with tax revenues being dedicated to the city’s police and fire pension funds.