Chicago Mayor Shortlists Sole Casino License Bidders

Chicago is expected to start developing a billion-dollar casino soon as its high-stakes bidding is ongoing. Lori Lightfoot, the city's mayor, announced on Tuesday that it has listed three bidders who will advance to the next bidding stage for Chicago's sole casino license.

She named Hard Rock at the ONE Central Site, Rivers 78 at the 78 site, and Bally's Corporation at the Tribune Site as the top three bidders who are likely to build the luxury casino.

The mayor is expected to select the final proposal that she will submit as the casino's developer and operator to the City Council for approval. She said that her office has spent many hours reviewing every proposal for the casino license. They found the three bidders fit to help the leadership achieve its goal to develop the first casino resort in the city.

Mayor Lightfoot stated that Chicago will have employment, equity-focused and economic opportunities from each proposal that will greatly enhance its architectural, cultural, and entertainment scenes with a unique design and amenities. The city's teams are eager to start discussing with the three bidders and turn the decades-long gaming project into a reality.

Chicago estimates that the gaming establishment will generate about $400 million from gaming for it and the State of Illinois.

Details About the Top Three Casino License Bidders

The finalists of the license bidding process include:

Hard Rock-ONE Central Site

HR Chicago, LLC (Hard Rock) proposes to build a $1.74 billion casino on part of the ONE Central site. It is a big development proposal north of the MPEA convention center at the lakefront.

The proposal comprises a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live gaming venue, a 500-room hotel tower, Hard Rock Music and Entertainment, a "Rock" rooftop space, spa, green space, cafes, a food hall, lounges, six bars, and a few restaurants.

The casinos will have adequate space for 166 table games and 3,000 slots. The bidder projects that this project will offer 3,140 permanent casino gaming jobs and 16,607 construction jobs. Also, Hard Rock forecasts that it will open the temporary casino in Q2 2023 and the permanent gaming site in Q3 2025.

Rivers- 78

The casino's proposal constitutes a $1.62 billion casino development project on "The 78", a huge development that is near Southern Chicago.

Besides, it features a riverfront plaza, a Harbor Hall multi-functional riverfront venue to offer live entertainment, an observation tower having outdoor and indoor space, eight restaurants, a 300 room hotel tower, lounges, five bars, a food hall, and cafes.

The casino will offer 190 table games and 2,600 slots. Rivers predicts that this project will offer 3,068 permanent gaming jobs and 4,375 construction jobs. It intends to launch the temporary casino in Q2 2024 and the permanent casino in Q4 2025.

Bally's Corporation-Tribune Site

Bally's Corporation proposes a $1.74 billion hotel and casino project on part of the Tribune Publishing Plant. Its proposal comprises an Immerse Agency exhibition site, a Riverwalk extension, a 3,000-seat theater, a 500 key hotel tower, a pedestrian bridge, an outdoor music space, an outdoor park. Also, it has an amenity terrace with a food hall, cafes, six restaurants, a sun deck and fitness center, and a pool spa.

The casino will provide 173 table games and 3,400 slots. Bally's Corporation projects that the project will add 2,002 permanent casino jobs and 9,750 construction jobs. It plans to open the temporary casino in Q2 2023 and the permanent location in Q1 2026.


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