Illinois Delays Casino License Issuance By Six Months Due To COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all walks of life in the United States and one of the hardest hit industries in the land based casino market. Illinois had big plans for its land based casino industry but was forced to push things back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government was forced to push back its casino license process by 6 months which will be a disappointment to operators looking to enter Illinois. The state government was forced to make this decision even though it will ultimately end up having a negative impact on the state economy.
In 2019, J.B Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, introduced a new gambling reform package that legalized casino operations. The regulation also approved the building of at least six new casinos in the state. The first round of licensing would allow up to six casinos to be built.
These new casinos are to be built in Cook County, Rockford, Waukegan, Williamson County, Danville and two in Chicago. At the moment, Danville County is in the process of reviewing its casino licensing. However, Chicago is still way behind in the licensing review process when compared to the other cities.
The big attraction is the city of Chicago as so far as many as 11 potential gaming operators have expressed interest in developing a casino in Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot had earlier pushed for the state government to lower the tax rate in order to attract more bidders. Given the response, it looks like the tax rate is not going to be a huge factor for operators interested in Chicago. The formal application process will be opened in the first part of 2021.
Operators Not Put Off By 6 Month Delay
The Illinois Gaming Board has its hands full as the watchdog is tasked with overseeing the ten existing casinos in the state and more than ten thousand gaming machines in bars and pubs. In October 2019, ten bids were submitted for the creation of five new casinos in the state.
According to the expanded gambling law, the board had a year to review the proposals and provide casino licenses. If the gaming board failed to do this, the board was required to issue written explanations for any delays that may occur.
Even though casino operators are disappointed by the board’s decision, everyone understands why the delays are in place. However, casino developers remain committed to Illinois and will not get the six month delay get in their way.