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Chicago's 3 Proposed Casino Sites Continue to Draw Opposition From Some Residents, Special Meeting Planned

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The city of Chicago is holding a special meeting Monday to weigh in on where to put the city's first casino. But not all residents from those neighborhoods are on board.

The three neighborhoods in consideration include the South Loop, which includes Chinatown and Pilsen, the area just west of Soldier Field, and River West.

Each of those locations is considering bids from three different casinos: Bally’s Corporation, Hard Rock and Rivers 78.

Protestors Sunday spoke out against the proposed Rivers 78 casino in the South Loop, arguing it would lead to more traffic and more gambling addition. They also cited an assessment they say shows the majority of residents do not support a casino.

Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez, whose 25th Ward includes Chinatown and the West Loop, is also against the casino's development.

“We understand that there’s a casino that was approved by the state, approved by the city, but where this happens needs to always be in consultation with the residents," said Ald. Sigcho Lopez said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the projected tax revenue is between $175-195 million depending on the location — with the money earmarked to subsidize for police and fire pensions.

“The revenue is gonna shore up our police and fire pensions, critically important," Lightfoot said. "It's gonna relieve the burden on our taxpayers."

Mayor Lightfoot is pushing for a final decision in May or June.

Locations of Each Casino in Consideration

  • Rivers 78 Casino (projected tax revenue $175 million): South Loop and Chinatown along the Chicago River 
  • Bally's Corporation (projected tax revenue $192 million): Site of the current Chicago Tribune building near the Chicago River
  • Hard Rock (projected tax revenue $195 million): Area just west of Soldier Field

How to Participate in the Public Meeting

A virtual meeting with take place at 1 p.m. on the Chicago City Clerk's website. Written public comment can be emailed to Nicole.Wellhausen@CityofChicago.org and at Raymond.Valadez@cityofchicago.org and will be accepted up until 10:00 a.m. Monday.

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