Apr 11, 2022 - News

Casino finalists double down on proposals

Casino rendering
Rendering of Bally's Chicago at the Freedom Center. Image courtesy of SCB

All three casino finalists presented their proposals last week in a series of town hall meetings. They fielded questions and made their case to build the city's first-ever casino.

Driving the news: The town halls all had similar themes — jobs, traffic, and neighborhood residents skeptical of a major casino moving into their backyards.

Rivers 78: The developers preached jobs, jobs, and more jobs while touting that minority-owned contractors are getting the work done.

  • Backed by one of Illinois' richest men, Neil Bluhm, Rivers would set up a temporary casino in a nearby boathouse while the permanent location is built.
  • Nearby residents and Ald. Byron Sigcho-López are worried about crime and its proximity to Chinatown, which has a history of predatory casino marketing.

The Hard Rock at One Central: South Loop residents pressed developers about congestion, economic opportunities, and crime.

Bally's at the Freedom Center: The developers took questions from River West residents overwhelmingly worried about noise and traffic.

  • Bally's would put millions towards 30 neighborhood infrastructure projects they believe will make traffic better.
  • It would be the biggest casino in the state, with a 3,000-seat entertainment venue and a 500-room hotel.
  • If chosen, Bally's would set up a temporary casino in the Tribune Publishing building near the Freedom Center.

What's next: The city says it will choose a winner by early summer.

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