Lightfoot Announces 5 Potential Locations for New Chicago Casino

Each of the sites had previously been considered for a prospective casino or major development in the past, according to Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that the city submitted five sites to be considered as the location for a new casino in Chicago as part of the state's new gambling expansion.

The sites to be considered include: Harborside (111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway), the former Michael Reese hospital (31st Street and Cottage Grove); Pershing and State; Roosevelt and Kostner; and the former U.S. Steel parcel (80th Street and Lake Shore Drive), Lightfoot's office said in a statement.

Each of the sites had previously been considered for a prospective casino or major development in the past and all are largely made up of publicly-owned land, according to Lightfoot.

The city will "facilitate an open and thorough community engagement process to solicit meaningful feedback on preferred areas throughout the city" that will include an online survey and a series of town hall meetings before selecting a permanent location, Lightfoot said.

The prospective locations were submitted as part of an "economic feasibility study" required under a bill signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to expand gambling across Illinois.

Pritzker signed the gaming bill into law last month in part to fund the state's ambitious new infrastructure plan. Lightfoot said Wednesday that revenue from the Chicago casino will also be directed to the city's underfunded police and fire pensions. 

The legislation allows for six additional casinos in Illinois, located in Chicago, Danville, Waukegan, Rockford, south suburban Cook County and Williamson County in southern Illinois.

The Chicago casino will be able to place gaming machines at O'Hare and Midway airports, and allows horse racing tracks to have slot machines and table games on site. The measure also legalizes wagering for competitive professional sports and authorizes it at racing tracks, casinos and other sports facilities.

The new study, conducted by consulting firm Union Gaming Analytics, will analyze the viability of a Chicago casino under the new legislation, reporting back to the city, the Illinois Gaming Board and the Illinois General Assembly within 45 days.

"While a Chicago casino had been talked about for more than 30 years, today we are moving forward to ensure the new casino is viable for Chicago and all of its communities," Lightfoot said in a statement.

"Thanks to our partnership with Governor Pritzker, Speaker Madigan, President Cullerton and other state leaders, together we are advancing a shared vision for new revenues that will benefit Chicago’s severely underfunded pension funds, while generating new jobs and economic opportunity for communities across the city," she added. 

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