Chicago is now has launched a Request for Information (RFI) to select developers for the upcoming casino in the city.
Chicago’s Casino, A Step Closer to Realization
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot has been a staunch supporter of a casino along with lawmakers looking to add a new source of revenue to Chicago’s economy. The RFI would allow the city to receive actionable solutions by established casino operators as well as proven real estate developers interested in developing the casino.
Once proposals are submitted, the city will have enough time to assess and decide whether any are worth carrying on with. In a statement, Mayor Lightfoot said that it had taken Chicago decades to secure a favorable ruling and obtain a permit to proceed with the development of a casino.
Now, all that is left to do is to develop the project and generate what would be hundreds of millions of additional revenue. His exact statement read as:
“After securing favorable legislation that had eluded us for decades, Chicago can finally pursue a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring a casino to our city, generating hundreds of millions in new gaming revenues.”
The Current Legislation Faces a Few Hurdles
Gambling expansion legislation was passed and signed into law in June 2019, giving green light for the development of a casino project in Chicago. However, there have been at least several spanners thrown in the works so far.
Initially, lawmakers wanted to introduce an onerous 72% taxation rate that would have made any profitable operation of a casino property impossible, not to mention the lack of developers and gaming brands who wanted to operate the property.
Earlier this year, Union Gaming Analytics issued a study describing the economic hurdles ahead of the casino project the focal point of which was the inadequate taxation. Mayor Lightfoot has listened to the recommendations of industry experts and has pushed heavily for the overhaul of the tax rate to make the casino project feasible.
Vast Opportunity for Gaming in Chicago
Chicago’s potential in terms of being source of gaming revenue is quite immense. The metropolitan area has some 9.5 million residents, making for one of the biggest concentration of gamblers without any local supply.
In other words, Chicago is the last frontier where gambling is about to set foot. According to Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Jack Lavin the introduction of more businesses would help revitalize the economy and provide jobs. He specifically said:
“Now more than ever, our city needs a project like this to help revitalize Chicago’s economy, provide jobs for working men and women and invigorate the direct and indirect support for small businesses, which is sorely needed.”
The funds will be used to bolster the city police and fire pension funds and offer budgetary relief for the corporate city fund. Any brand and industry representative taking part in the RFI process will have to provide a detailed breakdown of how the project can be completed.
Specifically, the city is interested in what requirements would be appropriate to start a temporary casino. Any respondent would have to provide the size, scope and physical footprint of the planned gaming complex.
Chicago will want to see any new project become a part of the already existing urban look of the city while also addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The public call for proposal is a first definitive step towards building the casino in Chicago.