November 22, 2021 Casino, Land Based

Chicago releases five proposals for massive casino project

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Proposals to be debated by the public next month.

Chicago has released the five proposals it has received to create a world-class casino, resort and entertainment complex, and another step has been taken toward the Windy City having a marquee destination for players.  

The proposals are slated to be presented to the public on December 16. The next steps in the process – in which the city begins negotiations with the selected applicant – is slated to begin early in the new year.  

The license winner will be able to operate a temporary casino in the city for 24 months (with the opportunity for a 12 month expansion) before the final version is completed. 

Bringing a casino-resort to Chicago has been an effort three decades in the making. A cursory look at the market indicates the project’s successful completion is sure to become one of the preeminent gambling destinations in the United States: the city – a global travel hub – has 9.5 million residents and welcomed over 60 million visitors in 2019, the last year when travel still maintained the semblance of normalcy.  

Among the five proposals, two are from Bally’s Corporation, one from Hard Rock International, one from Rivers Chicago at McCormick, and one from Rivers 78 Gaming.  

The first proposal from Bally’s is a $1.8bn property in the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center. It would have 500 rooms, six eating establishments, three bars, an entertainment venue, exhibition space, outside space, 3,400 slots and 173 table games.  

The second proposal from Bally’s is a $1.6bn property in McCormick Place Truck Marshaling and would contain the same amount of features as the property at the Tribue Publishing Center.  

Hard Rock Chicago would be a $1.7bn property at the ONE Central site. It would have 500 rooms, eight restaurants, six bars, theater and performance space, a spa, 3,400 slots and 166 table games. 

Rivers Chicago at McCormick would be a $1.3bn property at the Lakeside Center and would be managed by Rush Street Gaming. It would have at 2,900 (with the ability to add 250 more rooms), 12 eating establishments, four separate bars, a theater, covered access to the McCormick Convention Center, would exploit its lakeside location, have 2,600 slots and 190 table games. 

The Rivers 78 Gaming proposal would come in at $2.0bn and be located at an 8-acre riverfront site located at the north end of the mixed-use area known as 78. It would have 300 rooms, eight restaurants, five bars, a riverfront plaza, multi-purpose venue space, community outreach programs, rooftop space, 2,600 slots and 190 table games.  

Speaking on the proposals, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said: “The caliber of the proposals from Bally’s Corporation, HR Chicago LLC, Rivers Chicago at McCormich LLC and Rivers Gaming LLC are in line with our vision to develop a world-class experience in Chicago that will drive significant economic growth and employment opportunities for our communities. Each proposal provides a unique vision for what Chicago’s casino-resort could look like, and our expert review committees are ready to dive into discussions to usher in a new and exciting era for our city.”

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