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Stoyan Todorov November 2, 2021 3 min read
Chicago Showered with Proposals as Single Casino License for Grabs
The City of Chicago is not lacking suitors when it comes to casino operators. The sole license that is now up for grabs has elicited some strong and determined action from no fewer than five companies that are pushing to secure an entry that would chart a way for their futures in the city and the region.
Five Suitors Start Bidding for Market Access
Bally’s Corporation is seemingly ahead in the game, having planned and drafted two individual proposals, applicable to two different sites that seek the city’s approval to launch a project that is estimated at $1.6 billion. Bally’s offer includes The Chicago Tribune Publishing Center and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard, both of which could host a world-class casino resort.
The company’s chairman, Soo Kim, has argued that Chicago’s status as a world-class city makes it a perfect pick for Bally’s ambitions. With a single license to go, though, Bally will have to fend off competition from equally well-established companies.
Hard Rock International is another bidding player looking to secure exposure in the market with another hand-picked site in mind. Rivers 78 Gaming is also flexing for access to the city’s promising casino market, with others, such as Rivers Chicago at McCormick, LLC and HR Chicago, LLC looking to secure an entry as well.
Bally Betting on Two Sites Instead of One
Of the five proposals, only Bally’s running with two. Bally seems to be the one making big ripples so far, with their proposed project built in two phases. The first one would cost $1 billion to complete with 2,700 slot machines and 95 table games, and a subsequent investment of $600 million will add up to 4,000 gaming spots along with a 400-room hotel and 20,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space.
Bally’s Corporation casino resort would be self-managed, whereas the rest have named either affiliates or a company. Rivers 78 and Rivers Chicago will count on Rush Street Gaming, LLC to manage either site whereas HR Chicago, LLC will do so through Hard Rock International.
Company director Wanda Y Wilson has emphasized the benefits that Bally’s would seek to create and introduce to the local economy, arguing that the new casino resort would lead to meaningful leadership roles and well-paying jobs, along with investment opportunities and more.
To this end, Bally’s already working with various community-based and not-for-profit organizations, as well as colleges in Chicago, looking to fulfill an ambitious hiring plan with specific goals. While Bally’s forging ahead with its ambitious employment stratagem, though, Chicago will have to settle on a single entity to run its casino business.