- The decision for Chicago’s new casino has been delayed until early summer
- Casino proposals have been narrowed to three of the best prospects
- Mayor Lightfoot wants to see the casino opened by 2025
CHICAGO, I.L. – Although Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had previously stated that she hoped to have picked a casino finalist by the end of this month, the decision has reportedly been delayed until the summer.
Mayor Lightfoot has managed to pass on some proposals regarding McCormick Place before extending her selection timeline, however.
The selection process for Chicago’s new casino has reportedly been narrowed down to three solid development pitches, but more time is needed to examine and deliberate the best choice. The new casino will also host an Illinois sportsbook in the heart of Chicago
“We have spent countless hours analyzing each proposal for Chicago’s casino license and have determined Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock Chicago, and Rivers 78 best fit the core goals we want to achieve for the City’s first integrated casino-resort,” said Lightfoot.
Breaking down the three remaining proposals for the casino, and subsequent sportsbook shows a hard choice for the city officials.
One of the three pitches is the “Rivers 78” site within the South Loop, another would be a Bally’s Casino to be located at the River West site, and lastly would be a Hard Rock casino in the One Central site.
Chicago’s chief financial officer, Jennie Huang Bennett has clarified that progress has been made, but they want more community input going forward.
“If we had selected one site without having had further engagement within the community then, I think that would have been very difficult for us to hold to the values of transparency and community engagement that we do with every major development,” said Bennett
Tarrah Cooper Wright -spokesperson for Rivers 78- stated the benefits that selecting their pitch could bring, not least of which was the “iconic architecture that will draw people from around the world.”
“This development creates a geographical link that previously did not exist among the communities of Chinatown, Pilsen, Little Italy, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, South Loop and the Loop, uniting our city in a single destination where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather,” said Wright.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hard Rock relayed his excitement for the potential to work with the city to bring Chicago a more established brand.
“We look forward to a robust dialogue with city leaders about Hard Rock Chicago and what we bring to the table. Chicago is a global city that deserves a global operator,” a Hard Rock spokesperson said in an email.
Lastly, Chris Jewett, executive of Bally’s, expressed his belief that their pitch has a huge probability of selection.
“Of the three finalists, we believe that the Tribune site is the most attractive and has the highest revenue generation potential for the city,” Jewett said.
Only one of these prospects will be chosen, and with Lightfoot’s sentiment to see the casino and legal sports betting operator opened by 2025, the decision will surely be made soon.
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