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US – Union Gaming to conduct feasibility study into Chicago’s downtown casino

By - 16 July 2019

The Illinois Gaming Board has asked gaming analysts at Union Gaming to oversee a feasibility study for a casino in Chicago.

Union Gaming will present its study regarding the feasibility and ability to finance a casino in Chicago to Governor Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August.

The expansion will allow five casinos in the Chicago suburbs, as well as a much bigger integrated casino resort in the Chicago’s downtown area. The study will focus on the feasibility of the downtown development.

SB 690 authorises licenses for casinos in Chicago, Waukegan, Rockford, the South Suburbs, Williamson County (Walker’s Bluff), and Danville. New casinos will be allowed up to 2,000 positions immediately, except for Walker’s Bluff, which is capped at 1,200, and the City of Chicago, which will be allowed up to 4,000 positions, including slots at Midway and O’Hare Airports. Horse tracks will be allowed 1,200 positions, and Fairmount 900 positions. Each of these casinos will be privately owned, and the Illinois Gaming Board will have oversight. SB 690 also implements a new tax structure for table games.

The Illinois board said: “Union Gaming Analytics was selected following a competitive bidding process compliant with the Illinois Procurement Code. The IGB received a total of three bids. Two of the bids were disqualified as untimely because they were received after the bidding process deadline had passed.”

Chicago Sun-Times journalist Ed Zotti believes the Millennium Park would be an ideal location.

He said: “The best way to ensure that a casino helps, rather than hurts, its host city is to put it in the middle of a hot entertainment district — entertainment meaning amusements other than gambling. Casinos aren’t a neighbourhood revitalisation tool. If you put a casino in some down-and-out location hoping to spark a revival, you’re kidding yourself. Casinos don’t bring vitality to an urban area. If carelessly designed, they can suck vitality out.”

Caption: Chicago’s Millennium Park

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