Five potential sites were selected by Mayor Lori Lightfoot for Chicago’s first-ever casino, the city announced Wednesday. Before a location is finalized, the mayor will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the economic impact which is required by state law.
The Chicago casino is one of six in Illinois that was authorized by the gaming expansion legislation passed by state lawmakers in spring. The new casino will be one of the largest in the state with 4,000 slot and gaming table seats. The revenue will provide money for underfunded police and fire pensions.
“While a Chicago casino had been talked about for more than 30 years, today we are moving forward to ensure the new casino is viable for Chicago and all of its communities,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
After legislation was passed by state lawmakers, there was lots of speculation as to where the casino would go. Lightfoot has chosen sites on the South and West Sides, one of which includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site at 31st and Cottage Grove. In June, the alderman for the area, Sophia King, said her ward was firmly against the casino. Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell also isn’t happy—she sent out a statement saying that her constituents wanted a grocery store at Pershing Road and State Street, not a casino.
Each location is largely city-owned land and some were previously considered for major developments like Amazon’s HQ2.
Here are the five sites:
- Harborside at 111th and the Bishop Ford Freeway in Pullman
- the former Michael Reese hospital at 31st and Cottage Grove in Bronzeville
- Pershing Road and State Street in Bronzeville
- Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue in Lawndale
- the former U.S. Steel parcel at 80th and Lake Shore Drive in South Chicago
The economic feasibility study will test the viability of a Chicago casino at these locations. A consultant, Union Gaming, was appointed by the city and Illinois Gaming Board to review and report the findings to city and state lawmakers within 45 days.
In addition to this, the city will also look for feedback from residents and nearby communities through an online survey and a series of community town halls which haven’t been scheduled yet. City Council approval on the casino project is needed to move forward as well.