A casino for River West gets the green light from Mayor Lori Lightfoot. What’s in the plan and what happens next? – Chicago Tribune

After 30 years of trying, Chicago has a casino deal on the table. Here’s a look at what the proposal includes, what should happen next, and when a printing press could be replaced by a gambling palace – if nothing derails the plans.

Plans for the entertainment complex include a 500-room hotel tower, a 3,000-seat theater, an outdoor concert hall and a “huge Agency exhibition experience,” a statement from Thursday said. town hall press.

Other plans for the project on Chicago Avenue and in the River West neighborhood include an extension of the Riverwalk, an outdoor park, and a “pleasure terrace” featuring a large swimming pool, spa, fitness center, and lounge. sunny terrace.

Dining options will include six restaurants, cafes and a food hall.

And then there’s the game itself, which has 3,400 slots and 170 table games.

The city says it would create thousands of construction and casino jobs. The city hopes to use the resulting revenue to help fill budget holes related to pensions.

The city council approval process could be bumpy.

Some aldermen will probably complain that they had no more say in choosing the winning bidder. Others might balk out of distaste for the game or concern for traffic.

But Lightfoot will argue that the casino makes major tax hikes less likely in the future, a message that is likely to appeal to aldermen who love nothing more than property tax increases.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Illinois Gaming Board to determine whether to license a Chicago casino developer.

Once the application is submitted to the board, regulators will conduct background investigations of all parties involved in the proposals.

The law gives the Gaming Board one year to issue a license after receiving an application, but it also allows regulators to extend that time if necessary, which has been the case for other applications currently before the board.

In Rockford, for example, Hard Rock submitted its application in October 2019 and the council did not grant preliminary approval until February 2021. The casino has yet to open, but its temporary operation was operational in November.

Once the state gives its approval for a Chicago casino, the developer will be able to operate in a temporary location, also subject to board approval, for up to two years while the permanent casino is built.

Bally plans to use a former Tribune Publishing warehouse once intended for residential and office development as a temporary casino. Its location would be 700 W. Chicago Ave., a separate parcel of land north of the 30-acre Freedom Center site.

If approved, Bally’s aims to open the temporary casino by the second quarter of 2023.

The opening of the permanent casino is scheduled for the first quarter of 2026.

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