CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Laurie Lightfoot will announce a winning bid for Chicago Casino on Thursday morning.
The announcement will appear at 9:45 a.m. Thursday. The mayor does not advertise on any of the proposed casino sites; she will do so at the Regional Council of Carpenters of Central America in River North.
Earlier, sources at City Hall confirmed that the leaders of Bally’s, one of three companies vying to establish a casino in Chicago, had arrived in Chicago.
Sources at City Hall told Brad Edwards of CBS 2 that while Bally’s may receive confirmation as the mayor’s final choice for the city’s first casino, nothing has been done.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office did not confirm reports on Wednesday that Lightfoot was expected to announce Bally’s choice of casino.
“The evaluation process is ongoing and we expect to make an announcement soon,” a Lightfoot spokesman said in an email.
Bally’s was the only casino finalist to offer the city an advance payment as part of its bet, paying the city $ 25 million.
Belly’s proposal calls for the creation of a $ 1.74 billion casino at the 30-acre Chicago Tribune Freedom Center publishing house along the Chicago River near Halstead and Ohio streets.
The site will include 3,400 slot machines and 173 board games; hotel with 500 rooms; six restaurants and cafes, as well as a food hall; three bars and lounges; 3,000-seat entertainment area of 70,000 square feet; 20,000 square feet of exhibition space; sports museum; and an outdoor / rooftop space with bars, lounges and swimming pools.
Bally’s will also seek to host slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports.
The Chicago Tribune publishes its newspapers – and the newspapers of some competitors – at the Freedom Center, but the lease of this site expires in June 2023 with the possibility to extend for 10 years, but Bally’s also has the opportunity to purchase the site.
Bally’s application for this site includes a temporary facility adjacent to the Freedom Center by remodeling an existing building.
Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), whose parish includes the Freedom Center website, said he would support the Bali casino offer in his branch because it is the only alternative for the city to get the annual revenue of $ 200 million he counts on to bolster his underfunded workers’ pension system – is an increase in property taxes.
However, two neighboring aldermen – Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Brian Hopkins (2nd) – said that their voters overwhelmingly oppose casinos in the area.
Many River West residents are repulsed by casinos in the area, causing concerns about congestion, noise and crime.
“We’re not sure Bally’s has the experience and knowledge to do that,” said Brian Israel, president of the River North Residents Association.
As reported on Wednesday night by German Terry of CBS 2, Israel does not simply doubt that the capital of Bali should complete the deal. He believes that the whole process did not take place as originally presented.
“We are also concerned that the city council seems to have been excluded from the process or not fully involved in making many important decisions along the way,” Israel said. “We believe that the executive and the legislature should work on this together, and it should not be the sole responsibility of the mayor’s office.”
For her part, Mayor Lightfoot said this week: “We tried to be as transparent as possible by holding a series of rounds of engagement, winning the three finalists.”
Two other finalists of the city’s first casino were proposals to create Rivers Casino in Building 78 in South Loop and Hard Rock Casino in the proposed One Central building near Soldier Field.
The chairmen of these chambers have also stated that they oppose these casino proposals.
Whichever finalist is elected mayor, must be approved by a special city council committee formed to consider the mayor’s election, followed by a full city council before the city’s choice for the casino is submitted to the Illinois Gaming Council for approval.