Chicago City officials on Friday officially unveiled the five competing bids to run Chicago’s casino, as the evaluation process continues and seeks to select a plan to present to the City Council for approval early next year.
Earlier this month, as part of the RFP process, Bally’s submitted two proposals for two different sites, Hard Rock joined the race in a single-site bid with HR Chicago, while Rush Street Gaming is running as a manager in two different bids under the Rivers brand.
The city is planning a public meeting on December 16 for bidders to present their plans to the public and take questions on their proposals. After that meeting, the city also will host follow-up community meetings to present revisions to any proposals, if necessary. Once the city Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s review team recommends a final applicant for approval, the bidder will submit an official planned development application to the city, and the Chicago Plan Commission would then hold a hearing on the chosen proposal.
If approved by the Plan Commission, the selected bid would then go to the City Council Zoning Committee for consideration before a vote by the full City Council. If approved, that proposal would then need to get approval for a casino license from the Illinois Gaming Board, before the selected developer could set up a temporary casino while building a permanent facility.
NEWS: The City of Chicago is releasing a summary of five proposals received through its RFP process to create a world-class casino-resort and entertainment experience in Chicago.
To view the executive summaries, visit https://t.co/p3HW6XFecA.
— Ryan Johnson (@Ryan_Johnson) November 19, 2021
Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development Samir Mayekar said the city received “five great proposals that are all well over $1 billion worth of development.” “All of the proposals truly value Chicago assets,” he said. “We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen with these five bids.”
Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett said, while the city is still in talks with all five bidders, they still expect a Chicago casino would generate approximately $200 million in annual tax revenues for the city, based on a 2019 feasibility study prepared by Union Gaming Analytics for the Illinois Gaming Board.
Bally’s project for the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center
Bally’s has submitted two separate proposals for a Chicago casino, including a $1.8 billion project at the 30-acre Chicago Tribune Freedom Center publishing plant along the Chicago River near Halsted and Ohio streets. The site would include 3,400 slot machines and 173 table games; a 500-room hotel; six restaurants and cafés, as well as a food hall; three bars and lounges; a 3,000-seat, 70,000-square-foot entertainment venue; 20,000 square feet of exhibition space; a sports museum; and an outdoor/rooftop space with bars, lounges, and pools.
In both of its projects, Bally’s also would seek to place slot machines at both O’Hare and Midway airports. The bid for this site includes a temporary facility adjacent to the Freedom Center by retrofitting an existing building. The operator would provide an upfront payment of $25 million to the city.
Bally’s bid for the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard
The second proposal from Bally’s is for the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard, a 28-acre staging area for freight trucks just south of the convention center complex at 31st Street and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
The $1.6 billion project would include 3,400 slot machines and 173 table games; a 500-room hotel; six restaurants and cafés, as well as a food hall; three bars and lounges; a 3,000-seat, 70,000-square-foot entertainment venue; 20,000 square feet of exhibition space; a sports museum; and an outdoor/rooftop space with bars, lounges, and pools.
The temporary casino for this proposal would still be adjacent to the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center. Bally’s would provide an upfront payment of $50 million to the city.
Hard Rock International is proposing to build its casino within the massive proposed One Central development, which is itself still just a concept that has yet to receive city or state approval as it seeks $6.5 billion in state financing.
Hard Rock’s proposed $1.7 billion casino within the One Central project would include 3,400 slot machines and 166 table games; a 500-room hotel; eight restaurants and cafés, and a food hall; six bars and lounges; a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live, Rock Spa, Hard Rock Music and Entertainment venue. The temporary casino would be built in McCormick Place’s Lakeside Center.
Rivers Chicago bid for McCormick Place
Rush Street Gaming has partnered with two different developers on separate proposals for a Chicago casino, including a $1.3 billion plan to build a casino at the underused Lakeside Center at McCormick Place.
Developers tout this proposal as having the advantage of not needing a temporary casino, by quickly repurposing the 583,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Lakeside Center for a casino. Developers also note there are already 2,900 hotel rooms on site, but say they can add more if needed.
Their proposal would include 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games; 12 restaurants and cafés, and a food hall; four bars and lounges, as well as full bars at seven of the restaurants; outdoor dining, entertainment, and other lakeside programming; and a renovated 4,200-seat Arie Crown Theater. The developers also tout the site’s direct access to the McCormick Place convention complex.
Rivers Chicago proposal for The 78 Development
Rush Street gaming also is proposing a casino within the 62-acre riverfront megadevelopment known as The 78, located between the South Loop and Chinatown. The $2 billion casino proposal would create an eight-acre entertainment district with 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games; a 300-room hotel; eight restaurants and cafés, as well as a food hall; five bars and lounges; a riverfront plaza; an observation tower with indoor and outdoor viewing space; and a riverfront entertainment venue with rooftop space.
The temporary casino for this project would be a riverboat docked on the Chicago River within The 78 development site.