Chicago Casino Has To Overcome Multiple Roadblocks Before It Becomes A Reality
Chicago scored a win when Illinois lawmakers approved Chicago’s proposal to open a Las Vegas-style casino to revitalise tourism and bring in new revenue for the city. Chicago has tried in the past to get a casino license approved but has not had much success over the years.
However, the approval of casino was a big positive for the city and the beginning of a long and arduous process to get things up and running. Chicago officials must first navigate the contentious path of choosing a location and getting state lawmakers to vote on their plan to make the casino more profitable.
The opening of Chicago’s Las Vegas-style casino would make Chicago the largest city in America with a casino. State lawmakers granted Chicago up to 4,000 slot machines which would allow the Chicago casino to compete with Las Vegas casinos. To give you a comparison, Caesars Palace and the Aria have approximately 1,500 slots machines each.
The location as to where the casino will be built is not fixed as of now nor is the design of the casino. Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated that downtown Chicago could still be a possibility as a feasibility study conducted in August, recommended a casino site closer to the city center. Possible sites include the state-owned James R. Thompson Center and the McCormick Palace building.
Roadblocks To Chicago Casino
Gaming experts believe that the Chicago casino could easily surpass Rivers Casino which is currently the highest grossing casino in Illinois bringing in $440 million in 2018 with just 1,200 slot machines. The feasibility study suggested that in 5 years, a Chicago casino could bring in close to $950 million.
However, the study also warns that Chicago’s gambling taxes and fees could make it difficult to run a profitable casino. The tax rate could be around 72 percent which will be the highest in the United States. The excessively high tax rate is because of a 33 percent tax on gross casino receipts earmarked for fire and police pensions which applies only to Chicago casinos.
Mayor Lightfoot pledged to take up the issue in January 2020, after lawmakers ran out of time to vote this year. She believes that the casino can help Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods and bring financial stability to its residents, despite locals worrying about the social costs of casinos coming to their neighborhoods.
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