The state of Illinois has legalized sports betting, but there are still plenty of decisions to be made before it goes live in the Land of Lincoln. One of the biggest questions for Illinois is where to build new casinos that will be allowed to offer sports betting.
The city of Chicago is hoping to land some of these new casinos, but the city and state are trying to find the best locations to start the building process. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Wednesday five potential sites for the new casinos, and the state of Illinois will help to decide where they will break ground.
The city of Chicago has been hoping for a casino within its city limits for quite some time, and it appears that the dream might be a reality in the coming months.
The two most logical places to build a casino and sportsbook in Chicago would seem to be at Navy Pier or McCormick Place, but those two sites were not included in Lightfoot’s plans. Even though there were five sites announced earlier this week, none of the sites are actually located in the downtown section of the Windy City.
All five sites were either on the South and West sides of the city, which would leave out the possibility of having a casino near Wrigley Field or the United Center. Wrigley Field and the United Center could choose to offer sports betting at their facilities, but there are other steps that will need to be figured out to make that happen.
Sites To Be Looked At
Some of the sites will need some work to get cleaned up before a casino can be built, while others are ready to have an establishment built soon.
One of the sites is the old U.S. Steel building that is located on the corner of 8th Street and Lake Shore Drive. The old Michael Reese hospital building at Cottage Grove and 31st Street is another promising location for a casino in the city.
Lightfoot also identified the intersections of Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue, as well as Pershing Road and State Street. The final proposed site of a casino is on the corner of 111th street and the Bishop Ford Freeway.
The Illinois Gaming Board will now be tasked with looking into each of the five proposed sites by Lightfoot and try to determine which would be the best. The Illinois Gaming Board will also work with the city of Chicago to help build the casino when a destination is chosen and will help operate the sportsbook in the initial stages.
Still Work To Be Done
There will also be several community meetings scheduled before a new casino site is chosen, and residents will have the chance to voice their opinions about the new establishment. The new casino will bring in extra revenue for the entire state of Illinois but will also add some new jobs and more money to the community where the casino is located.
There isn’t really a set timetable for all of this to happen, but the city of Chicago and the Illinois Gaming Board are hoping to make a decision before the end of the year.
There have already been several petitions started and statements made that have condemned a few of the potential sites. The hospital site is one of the proposed sites that has drawn the most initial opposition.
The state of Illinois is hoping to go live with sports betting before the NFL season begins in September, but lawmakers still have plenty of things to sort through before that happens. Expect some more announcements to be made in the state of Illinois in the coming months.