Following December’s Request for Ideas for a casino-resort in downtown Chicago, the city’s Request for Proposal is expected to start next month. Major gambling industry players have already shown interest in the resort deemed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot as a “once-in-a-lifetime project”.
Downtown Chicago Casino-Resort Gets One Step Closer
Although nearly a dozen operators have shown interest in Chicago’s downtown casino project, in the end, the winner is going to be only one. The request for proposal (RFP), which will grant a single operator a casino license in the city, is expected to launch next month. In December last year, 11 casino operators and real estate companies showed interest in the project.
The majority of the companies who responded to the city’s Request for Ideas agreed that downtown Chicago would be suitable for the project. Among the operators who showed interest in the project are major industry brands such as Rush Street, Wynn Resorts, Hard Rock International, and MGM Resorts.
“We want to make sure that we put out an RFP that’s going to be attractive to some of the top gaming ventures in the world, so for us, the sky’s the limit.”Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Mayor
Now, according to a recent statement by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city is ready to become a home for a big casino-resort. Furthermore, Lightfoot revealed that the RFP is expected to be attractive for some of the major world-famous gaming operators. Although Chicago’s Mayor refrained from mentioning specific operators, she added that “there are some that we would be very excited if they applied“.
Chicago’s Casino-Resort to Bring Benefits for the City
Before 2020, a project of such scale in Chicago wasn’t attractive to gambling operators. This was mainly because of the high casino tax for the city and the state. However, this changed last summer when Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 516 into law. The bill effectively set lower taxes based on a fixed revenue schedule, applicable for both table games and slot machines. In other words, with the help of SB 516, the project for a mega-casino in Chicago moved one step forward.
Undoubtedly, the mega-casino is going to bring benefits for the city and the operator that wins the license. In fact, in December, Mayor Lightfoot deemed the casino-resort as a “once-in-a-lifetime project”.
Chicago metropolitan’s population is 9.5 million people. This makes the area the third-largest metropolitan in the United States. Furthermore, each year, millions of travelers visit the city or pass through Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Although last year, the number of domestic and international flights plummeted mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019, more than 61 million people visited Chicago metropolitan area.