Chicago officials are ready to get the ball rolling on a new casino resort. Today, officials will start a request for proposals, and interested parties will have until August 23 to turn in their submissions. The goal is to award a contract and see the new resort open by 2025. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot hopes to see companies in the casino-resort business in Las Vegas submit proposals.
During a virtual news conference, the mayor stated that the project is going to be a world-class entertainment destination. Officials want to be sure that they partner with a company that is serious about the city and understands the unique opportunities that can be found in the city.
Only One License Available
Chicago has plans to offer only one license. Because of this, the competition could be tough. The license will allow a resort casino to be constructed by the winning application in a location of their choice. The contractor will be able to install slot machines in Midway International and O’Hare International airports. The earnings potential is massive due to the casino gaming as well as airport options.
The city’s website lists the information required for proposals by operator applicants. The property must have a casino and resort element with 500 rooms or less. There needs to be meeting space within the property along with bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, etc.
The project must create jobs that pay well and new employment opportunities for the region. Residents of Chicago must be considered for employment and the operator needs to offer apprenticeships and training programs.
Applicants must find ways to use businesses based in Chicago within their plans. A focus is on women, minorities, veterans, and those with disabilities who own businesses. Operators are required to hire 26% minority businesses and 6% women’s businesses. Businesses based in Chicago must also be used for the design and construction of the casino resort.
Gaming tax revenues generated from the project will go to the city. Police and fire pension obligations will be met with the funds. Chicago has plans to tax the casino at 40%. This is quite high when you consider major gambling regions like Nevada tax at 6.75%.
Once the license holder is chosen, the city will allow the operator to provide a temporary casino in the city for up to two years. This is subject to a 12-month extension. This will help the operator to bring in revenues before the resort is open for business.
The casino project is one of the most attractive development opportunities in the United States according to Mayor Lightfoot due to the metropolitan area being so large. There are around 9.5 million residents in Chicago and in 2019, the city attracted 60 million visitors from within the United States.