Chicago casino bidders scrutinised at special meeting

The Chicago casino project faces opposition from neighbours and aldermen.
The Chicago casino project faces opposition from neighbours and aldermen.

A meeting has been held to discuss Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock, and Rivers 78’s proposals for a casino in the city.

US.- Chicago aldermen have presented their concerns about the city’s proposed first casino to a special committee call. At the meeting, they said neighbours of the proposed sites were worried about what a casino could mean for their communities.

The three neighborhoods in consideration are South Loop, which includes Chinatown and Pilsen, the area west of Soldier Field and River North. Chicago is considering bids from three casino operators: Bally’s Corporation, Hard Rock and Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers 78.

The members of the special city council committee made it clear that they intended to play an active role in deciding the project’s final location.

“I’m particularly concerned about the effects and costs associated with gambling addiction, the costs associated with taking business away rather than for communities like Chinatown,” said 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, according to ABC Chicago.

Residents rs against the proposed Rivers 78 casino in the South Loop argue it would lead to more traffic and more gambling addiction. The head of a Chinatown health organisation said polling shows most residents don’t want a large casino near their neighborhood.

State rep. Theresa Mah is opposed to a casino near Chinatown. “They provide food and drink and all kinds of amenities so that they don’t leave,” she said. “Normally those tourists would be having lunch and dinner in Chinatown.”

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has defended the project. She she won’t let that local opposition stand in the way of a Chicago casino that will provide much-needed funding to the state.

Public hearings

Earlier this month, Chicago residents were able to learn more about the options for a casino in the city in a series of public meetings held by each of the finalists picked by mayor Lori Lightfoot. Out of five initial proposals, Lightfoot has chosen Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock and Rivers 78 as the three finalists.

The three proposals are:

  • Bally´s: at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center. Valued at $1.8bn, a 3,600-gaming positions casino, a 500-room high-rise hotel, 70,000 square-foot entertainment venue.
  • Hard Rock Chicago: a $1.7bn property at ONE Central with up to 500 rooms, eight restaurants, six bars and lounges, a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live, Rock Spa, Hard Rock Music and Entertainment Experience, 3,400 slots, and 166 table games.
  • Rivers 78 Gaming LLC: in the eight-acre riverfront entertainment district at the northern end of the mixed-use 78 neighbourhood. A $2bn property with 300 rooms; eight restaurants, five bars, and lounges; riverfront plaza; observation tower with indoor-outdoor viewing space; Harbor Hall multipurpose riverfront venue for live entertainment, culture-arts and community programs with rooftop space; 2,600 slots and 190 table games.
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