Three casino groups have presented five blueprints for a Chicago casino to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s review team with Bally’s, Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock International all in the running.
The selected operator will need their plans to be financially viable, architecturally stunning and be underpinned by the principles of inclusion and equity.
Mayor Lightfoot said of the entrants: “They look beautiful, and they’re saying a lot of things that really, I think, speak to our values, but as you all know, the devil’s in the details, and my financial team is going to do a deep scrub to make sure that we understand: are these projects really viable?”
Rush Street Gaming, which operates Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, has pitched two proposals; one is for a $1.3bn Rivers Chicago at McCormick, the other would be called Rivers 78 plan costing $2bn in partnership with Related Midwest.
Rush Street Owner Neil Bluhm said: “Chicago needs an experienced developer with a steady hand. There is not the time or project for on-the-job training.”
Bally’s meanwhile wants to spend $1.8bn on building either at River West Chicago Tribune Publishing Center or the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard.
“Chicago will be our most profitable property and the flagship of our extensive portfolio,” Bally’s chairman Soo Kim said.
Hard Rock, meanwhile wants to build a $1.7bn casino as part of the massive proposed One Central project over the Metra tracks near Soldier Field.
The aim is to have the casino up and running by 2025.