Even though the state of Illinois approved a massive gambling expansion earlier this year, the city of Chicago is still waiting to see if changes to the bill will pave the way for a casino to be built.
The bill is currently being debated in the veto session of the Illinois legislature, and while officials say they are continuing to work on changes that would make a casino project more attractive to investors, there is still plenty to be done.
“I think we’re on track,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Earlier this year, a feasibility study was conducted for a Chicago casino, but the study found that an “onerous tax and fee structure” could potentially scuttle the possibility of a casino being built within city limits.
Legislation aimed at reducing city and state taxes on a Chicago casino is being discussed in the legislature, but there is concern that lawmakers in the House aren’t going to back the bill strongly enough for it to pass.
Despite the skepticism that a bill will be passed before the legislature adjourns on Thursday, Lightfoot remains optimistic that the changes will be approved before lawmakers leave Springfield.
In the meantime, members of the City Council are watching the proceedings in Springfield closely, as a failure to reach a deal on the casino bill could create a shortfall that will need to be addressed in the city budget.
“There’s some progressive revenue sources we could look at, and there are other ways to skin this cat so that we’re not necessarily forced to implement a tax increase,” 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin said.