Casino events

Chicago casino plans hit snags on final stretch

Local residents have expressed concerns about proposals for a casino development in Chicago. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Chicagoans are worried

As three finalists vie for the chance to develop Chicago’s first casino, they face some opposition from local residents.

Community meetings were held, allowing the public to share their thoughts on the proposals. At the events, development teams were given the floor for speeches or videos discussing the benefits of their respective proposals.

concerns about traffic disruptions, falling property values, rising crime and problem gambling

Public servants spent less than a third of the time allotted at meetings on direct questions from the public. However, when people had the chance to challenge the finalists, they expressed various concerns. These included concerns about traffic disruptions, falling property values, increased crime and problem gambling, and an overall decline in the quality of life for local residents.

Many residents didn’t think having a casino anywhere in the city would be a good idea.

Uncertainty remains

Following the meetings, each of the finalists will have to respond to comments from the public and defend their arguments. It remains unclear which of the proposals from Hard Rock International, Bally’s Corporation and Rush Street Gaming is the favorite to receive support from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

the Council sometimes voted against the Mayor’s initiatives

It’s also uncertain whether any of the proposals in their current form would get the green light from the Chicago City Council. In the past, the Council has sometimes voted against the Mayor’s initiatives and proposals.

None of the three Council members representing the planned locations for the casino projects fully endorsed the proposals.

Financially attractive project

Each of the three finalists promises that a casino in Chicago would significantly boost the city’s economy. They argued that revenue from the casino would help ease the strain on the city’s finances, as well as create thousands of new jobs.

Chicago’s precarious financial situation has only worsened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, the city announced plans for a gas discount lottery to counter the rapidly rising cost of fuel in the area. Illinois recently experienced one of the largest gasoline price increases in the United States.

Mayor Lightfoot is expected to make a decision on his preferred proposal in a month or two. Each of the finalists offered to create a temporary casino while construction of the permanent property is underway. It is not until late 2025 or early 2026 that the proposed permanent casinos could open.