Casino finalists double down on proposals
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.
- Developers say the casino would be built off Lake Shore, far away from congestion.
- Some residents weren't swayed, concerned about its connection to the fledgling mega-development One Central.
- If chosen, Hard Rock could have the casino open in 30 months.
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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