Bally's Casino in Chicago aftermath: Winners and Losers
June 2, 2022
The plan to open the first casino in the city of Chicago goes through many challenges. But it just achieved a huge milestone which puts the plan closer to its goal.
The city gave an extension of about three months for the Request for Proposals process to the group behind the casino. The Mayor also chose Bally’s as the casino operator after looking at their $1.7 billion Tribune proposal. The city council agrees with her and gave full approval to the company.
Below are the people and groups who are contributing to the creation of the first casino in Chicago, whether they gave a positive or negative impact.
Winner — Mayor of Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot lends her hand in getting a casino in the city, by having the city council approve it faster. Also to be noted is the $40 million the city recently received to be put into the budget for the Fiscal Year of 2023.
As a form of gratitude, the casino gave the Mayor a boost for her re-election campaign as she is currently on her first term of office. The casino helped the mayor with police and fire pensions which have been an issue for the last three decades for being underfunded.
But Lightfoot has other problems to tackle in the city. The city and state are moving their chosen people forward for the mayoral seat against her. There is also the Chicago Bears football team intending to move to Arlington Heights.
Winner — Alderman Walter Burnett
Alderman Walter Burnett is a supporter of constructing a casino in the city. He finds the casino to be preferable to raising taxes on property in the city.
With the $75 million Bally’s pledged, the city planned to use it for infrastructure improvement around the casino as well as replacing the Chicago Avenue Bridge.
Winners — Sportsbooks
Bally’s is not offering sports betting in the whole state of Illinois. It does not offer retail bets.
Looking at the empty competition in the city two biggest sportsbooks in the nation are launching branches in Chicago. DraftKings and FanDuel are in the middle of constructing retail sportsbooks at Wrigley Field and the United Center. Both are planned to open in April 2023.
Loser — Alderman Brendan Reilly
Alderman Brendan Reilly is one from the city council who tried to pressure Mayor Lightfoot to receive the correct exchange from Bally’s for the good of the city.
To achieve his goal, Reilly was involved in three meetings with the Select Casino Committee. The meeting was held before the vote to present Bally’s proposal to the city council. The meetings result in a change in the Host Community Agreement which leads to a positive impact on the city.
Reilly was fuming as Medinah Temple in his ward was made the temporary casino venue. It also sent Bally’s $4 million annual payment to a specific target instead of security.
Loser — City commuters
The commuters will find it even harder to travel around the city as more and more entertainment and gaming places are open in the city. The Tribune plant held a groundbreaking ceremony recently with Medinah Temple opening in River North. Commuters are expected to plan to travel earlier to avoid traffic in years to come.