The state of Illinois has been trying to improve its gambling industry for a long time, and it was Governor J.B. Pritzker who made things happen by signing a casino bill last year. That paved the way for creating a plan of attack to expand the industry state-wide, but mainly in Chicago.
Officials suggested five possible locations for building a new casino in the city, but the plan was not effective as all of those locations proved to be not so viable for one such property.
Nevertheless, the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, as well as her associates, did not give up on the idea that Chicago needs another casino, so they continued working hard on finding the best possible solution for this issue. In fact, Lightfoot announced that she has the perfect solution, which is that the casino needs to be public rather than private.
The reason why Lightfoot is trying her best to give the entire industry a little push and proceed with casino construction is that a casino would have a huge financial benefit in the city. Chicago has been in debt for a long time, which is estimated to be $1.3 billion at the moment.
The debt is growing, so the more time they need, the bigger the debt will be, and that’s why urgent solutions are needed. This is actually one of the main reasons why Lightfoot wants the city or the state to be the main operator behind the casino.
By avoiding a commercial casino operator, Chicago would take all the revenue for itself, meaning that it would accelerate the process of lowering debt. A commercial operator would take a huge share of the revenue if they operated a casino in Chicago.
Yet, her idea is quite unorthodox, and finding appropriate support for putting it into action could prove just as difficult as trying to decrease the debt. All legislators are probably going to oppose this idea, as any such structure would connect the lawmakers and gambling directly, which is never a good idea, according to them.
One of the lawmakers, who wanted to remain anonymous, stated for the Chicago Sun-Times that they would have been pretty surprised if they would have touched anything that is related to gambling. Moreover, they added that opening up the bill for the Mayor would result in “opening floodgates” for all people who had problems with it. Finally, the anonymous lawmaker added that one such idea would “cause unnecessary drama.”
If that happens, then Lightfoot will have to ask the lawmakers to go back to the discussion room and come up with a plan that can be released successfully and benefit the state and the city.
Too Many Taxes
One of the reasons why the five locations in Chicago are not suitable for building a casino is because the overall tax rate could go up to 72 percent due to certain additional property tax. That is a deal that no casino operator is willing to accept, as it is simply not profitable enough for them.
Real estate sales in Chicago have very high taxes of about $5.25 for every $500. However, Lightfoot believes that this could be adapted to offset the casino taxes.
In fact, she is currently considering coming up with a tiered system that could include various tax breaks for all real estate deals that are under $500,000. This is a request that many professional legislators think is reasonable and that it is actually something that can be done.
However, no decisions are final yet, so we should keep a close eye on Chicago in the upcoming period.