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Lightfoot Denies Reports That Chicago Has Chosen Bally's Casino Bid

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Chicago Mayor Mayor Lori Lightfoot is denying reports that the city has decided to approve a bid by Bally's Corporation to build a casino in River West, saying that the evaluation process remains ongoing.

In comments made Tuesday, the mayor dismissed the reports as "not accurate," and said that there are still decisions that need to be made before a bid is chosen.

"The reporting today in advance of even the evaluation committee meeting and making a recommendation to me is just not accurate," she said. "We have a very specific process, and the process is there is an evaluation committee that's been hard at work through this process. They will evaluate all the information that has been provided by the three finalists and they will give their recommendation to me."

Lightfoot says that the recommendation has not yet been given, and that no final decision has been made.

According to reports in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Crain’s Chicago Business, the Bally's bid to build a $1.74 billion-casino in the River West neighborhood is expected to be the winner of the bidding process.

The proposed casino and hotel project would be located on a portion of the site of the Tribune Publishing Plant, according to officials.

The proposal included a 3,000 seat theater, a sports museum, an extension of the Chicago Riverwalk, a pedestrian bridge, a 500-room hotel, an outdoor music venue, and several restaurants.

More than 3,400 slot machines and more than 150 gaming tables would be part of the project, according to officials. A temporary casino could open as soon as 2023, with a permanent location expected to open in early 2026.

Two other sites are also under consideration for the proposed casino, including one that would be situated north of McCormick Place on Chicago’s lakefront. That project, spearheaded by Hard Rock, is known as the ONE Central Site, and would have included a 3,500-seat music venue, a 500-room hotel tower and other amenities.

Rivers is also in the running to build a casino, building it on a large development known as “The 78” on the city’s South Side. A riverfront area, an observation tower, a riverfront music venue, and a 300-room hotel tower are all part of the proposal.

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