Hard Rock, Bally’s among casino proposals submitted for Chicago

Chicago is one step closer to getting a casino.

Four developers submitted five proposals to operate casinos in the city, the Chicago Tribune reported. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her administration will spend the coming months picking one. While a location for it hasn’t been announced, many expect it to rise in or near downtown.

Bally’s Corporation submitted proposals for two sites that it would self-manage, HR Chicago submitted a proposal for a single one that would be managed by Hard Rock International and Rivers Chicago at McCormick and Rivers 78 Gaming submitted proposals for single sites that would be managed by Rush Street Gaming, which owns Rivers Casino in Des Plaines with Churchill Downs Inc.

Many expected Churchill Downs to bid on the Chicago casino. The company recently said it won’t.

The two sites that Bally’s for which submitted proposals are the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street, and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard near 31st Street and DuSable Lake Shore Drive. The proposed Rush Street casino locations are McCormick Place Lakeside Center and the 78 Chicago development site, which is south of the Loop.

“We are thrilled to have received five high-caliber proposals,” Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement. “The submission of bid responses represents a major step toward the thoughtful development of a casino-resort that uplifts our businesses, employs and empowers our residents and encourages tourism.”

A case study for a Chicago casino, in the summer of 2019, suggested a downtown location would be the best for the city instead of one in an outlying neighborhood.

The study also found that the project could struggle to attract developers because the approved tax structure would have left thin profit margins. After Lightfoot lobbied to correct the tax structure, lawmakers did so during last year’s session.

[TRD]

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