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US – City of Chicago releases summary of proposals for city’s first casino-resort

By - 22 November 2021

The City of Chicago is releasing a summary of five proposals received through its RFP process to create a world-class casino-resort and entertainment experience in Chicago.

An initiative three decades in the making, the Chicago casino is one of the country’s most attractive casino-resort development opportunities. A global gateway city with 9.5 million residents, Chicago welcomed 60 million domestic and 1.5 million international visitors in 2019. The selected bidder will be able to incorporate its property into the City’s vibrant cultural scene, robust public transit infrastructure, and highly diversified economy.

“The caliber of the proposals from Bally’s Corporation, HR Chicago LLC, Rivers Chicago at McCormick LLC and Rivers Gaming LLC are in line with our vision to develop a world-class experience in Chicago that will drive significant economic growth and employment opportunities for our communities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Each proposal provides a unique vision for what Chicago’s casino-resort could look like, and our expert review committees are ready to dive into discussions to usher in a new and exciting era for our city.”

The proposals are as follows, in alphabetical order. Note: Select proposals include development plans intended to be completed in phases.

  • Bally’s Corporation, Proposal #1:$1.8bn property in the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center with 500 rooms; six restaurant/cafes and a food hall; three bars and lounges; 3,000-seat, 70,000 sq. ft. entertainment venue; 20,000 sq. ft of exhibition space; outdoor/rooftop green space including bars, lounges and pools; 3,400 slots and 173 table games.
  • Bally’s Corporation, Proposal #2:$1.6 bn property in McCormick Place Truck Marshaling with 500 rooms; six restaurant/cafes and a food hall; three bars and lounges; 3,000-seat, 70,000 sq. ft. entertainment venue; 20,000 sq. ft of exhibition space; outdoor/rooftop green space including bars, lounges and pools; 3,400 slots and 173 table games.
  • HR Chicago, LLC: $1.7 billion property from Hard Rock International at ONE Central project site with up to 500 rooms, eight restaurant/cafes and a food hall, six bars and lounges, 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live, Rock Spa, Hard Rock Music and Entertainment Experience, 3,400 slots and 166 table games.
  • Rivers Chicago at McCormick, LLC: $1.3bn property at Lakeside Center at McCormick Place managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLC utilizing McCormick Place’s 2,900 hotel rooms with ability to add 250 or more additional rooms; 12 restaurant/cafes and a food hall; four bars and lounges in addition to full bars at seven restaurants; 4,200-seat updated Arie Crown Theater; direct covered access to McCormick Place Convention Center; dramatic lakefront setting with outdoor dining, entertainment and other lakeside programming; 2,600 slots and 190 table games.
  • Rivers 78 Gaming, LLC: $2bn property managed by Rush Street Gaming, LLV in the eight-acre riverfront entertainment district at the northern end of the mixed-use 78 neighborhood with 300 rooms; eight restaurant/cafes and a food hall, five bars and lounges; Riverfront plaza; Observation Tower with indoor/outdoor viewing space; Harbor Hall multi-purpose riverfront venue for live entertainment, culture/arts and community programs with rooftop space; 2,600 slots and 190 table games.

The Proposal Review Team includes experts made up of a cross-section of City department leaders who will determine the recommended winning bidder. This recommendation will be made by the review committee to Mayor Lightfoot who will ultimately make the determination with City Council approval.

The City has set a robust timeline to make a selection in this process. Applicants will present their proposals to the public on December 16. The holder of the Chicago owner’s license has the opportunity to operate a temporary casino for up to 24 months (subject to a 12-month extension) and, thereafter, a permanent casino located in the City. Applicants selected through the RFP process then must apply to the state for the owner’s license and meet the state’s licensing requirements.

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