Chicago Casino Plans Hit Hurdles on Final Stretch as Residents Complain

  • Community meetings took place to discuss the proposals of the three Chicago casino finalists
  • Local residents expressed concerns about traffic, crime, problem gambling, and traffic disruption
  • Chicago’s mayor will choose her preferred proposal and the City Council will then hold a vote
  • Proponents argue a Chicago casino would help ease pressure on the city’s precarious finances
Public meeting
Local residents have expressed concerns about the development proposals for a casino in Chicago. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Chicagoans raise concerns

As three finalists battle it out for the chance to develop Chicago’s first casino, they are facing some opposition from local residents.

Community meetings have taken place, allowing the public to share their thoughts on the proposals. During the events, development teams had the floor for speeches or videos discussing the benefits of their respective proposals.

worries about traffic disruption, dropping property values, increases in crime and problem gambling

Officials dedicated less than one-third of the allotted time at the meetings to direct questions from the public. However, when people did get the chance to challenge the finalists, they expressed a variety of concerns. These included worries about traffic disruption, dropping property values, increases in crime and problem gambling, as well as an overall drop in the quality of life for local residents.

Many residents did not think that having a casino anywhere in the city would be a good idea.

Uncertainty remains

Following the meetings, each of the finalists will need to address the public feedback and fight their cases. It is still unclear as to which of the proposals from Hard Rock International, Bally’s Corporation, and Rush Street Gaming is the favorite to receive the backing of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

the Council has sometimes voted against the Mayor’s initiatives

It is also uncertain if any of the proposals in their current forms would get the green light from the Chicago City Council. In the past, the Council has sometimes voted against the Mayor’s initiatives and proposals.

None of the three Council members representing the planned locations for the casino projects have fully endorsed the proposals.

Financially attractive project

Each of the three finalists promise that a Chicago casino would significantly boost the city’s economy. They have argued that casino revenue would help ease pressure on the city’s finances, as well as creating thousands of new jobs.

Chicago’s precarious financial situation has only worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, the city announced plans for a gas discount lottery to counter the rapidly increasing cost of fuel in the region. Illinois has seen one of the steepest rises in gas prices in the US recently.

Mayor Lightfoot is expected to make a decision on her preferred proposal in the next month or two. Each of the finalists has proposed creating a temporary casino facility while construction on the permanent property is underway. It would not be until late 2025 or early 2026 that proposed permanent casinos could open.