- Chicago’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, spoke to the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States.
- Lightfoot discussed the ongoing process to open a casino in Chicago.
- Her focus appears to be on making sure the casino brings value to the neighborhood it is located in.
CHICAGO - Chicago is currently playing host to the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is using the opportunity to plug her city as a willing partner in a gambling enterprise.
There is room for a Chicago casino in the state’s laws, as the law that legalized sports betting in Illinois also approved six casinos, one of which is set to be in downtown Chicago.
Lightfoot focused on the potential economic benefits to the city that could occur from the economic development provided by a casino - and the jobs that come with it.
“We understand the importance of creating opportunities for all our residents across our neighborhoods,” said Lightfoot. “So an operator who comes to invest in Chicago is going to have a partner in our government that is going to provide support to uplift the surrounding community and environment.”
Lightfoot’s interest in the existence of a casino in the city has been brewing for a while now, ever since it was made possible by a rework of casino regulations.
There are several requirements that Lightfoot has placed on anyone wishing to make a bid to open a casino in Chicago, however.
Lightfoot’s Casino Requirements
First and foremost, Lightfoot wants to focus on creating not just one gambling facility, but an entire entertainment district, with a focus on revitalizing the town via jobs and income created from tourism.
This means that plans must include hotel rooms, restaurants, bars, other entertainment venues, and ways to otherwise enrich the surrounding areas.
Construction on the project is to be allocated such that 26% of the contracts involved go to black and Latino owned businesses in Chicago, while 6% go to businesses owned by Chicago women.
There are also requirements on the hours worked - 50% of the hours put in to construct the casino must be put in by workers from Chicago overall, and some of that (7.5%) must be done by workers from the surrounding areas.
All of these restrictions have the same aim - to make sure that the job is being done in a way that helps the people in the area it is located in.
Whether or not they’ll be enough to make the casino a project that enriches the environment around it is another question.
There is a bit more than a month left before proposals are due on August 23 and the winner will likely not be announced before 2022.