Chicago became one step closer to bringing slots to the Windy City Friday as it received five proposals from developers seeking to building Chicago's first casino resort.
Proposals were initially supposed to be due in August, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced an extension to Friday, giving potential bidders more time to assess the opportunity.
The plans for a Chicago casino have been years in the making, with city officials calling the project "one of the country’s most attractive casino-resort development opportunities."
The following bids were submitted, Lightfoot's office said Friday:
- Bally's Corporation - Two proposals for two different sites - the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, located at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard; casino operations would be self-managed
- HR Chicago, LLC - Single site proposed; operations would be managed by affiliate Hard Rock International
- Rivers Chicago at McCormick LLC - Single site proposed, possibly in McCormick Place area; casino operations would be managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLC
- Rivers 78 Gaming, LLC - Single site proposed; casino operations would be managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLC
A location hasn't been determined and will be up to the developer.
The casino resort is expected to create thousands of jobs, including in construction, and boost existing businesses.
Estimates on revenues vary and the plan hit early snags with its tax structure. A 2019 feasibility study by a Las Vegas consulting firm showed it was too onerous to generate much revenue, so legislators approved a change. Union Gaming Analytics then said a downtown casino could bring in about $1 billion annually.
Whoever gets the license will also get to run slot machines at both of Chicago's airports. Overall, the operator will be allowed up to 4,000 “gaming positions”, or seats where bets are placed.
To generate early revenue for the cash-strapped city, the operator will also be allowed to open a “temporary casino” for up up to two years at a site of their choice.
A review committee made up of representatives from city departments will determine the recommended winning bidder, but a timeline for such a decision is unknown, city officials said. The recommendation will be made by the review committee to Mayor Lightfoot who will ultimately make the determination with City Council approval.