Chicago Casino Location Faces Residential Pushback

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on March 4, 2022
Local Opposition In Chicago Towards Proposed Rivers Mega Casino

One of the five proposed locations for a Chicago mega-casino faces massive pushback from neighborhood residents. 

According to a new survey by the 78 Community Advisory Council, residents of the South Loop said a casino could lead to several factors, including increased crime rates.

The 78-megadevelopment, next to the Chicago River, was one of five finalists for the casino. Related Midwest, the 78-developer, is partnering with Rush Street Gaming founder Neil Bluhm on a proposed $2 billion Rivers Casino.

Local pushback against a casino in Chicago

In February, the advisory council surveyed 378 people, with about three-fourths of respondents being highly unsupportive of the casino proposal. 

Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), whose ward includes the 62-acre site, said he agrees with some of the issues raised.

“I’m listening very carefully in terms of what is the feedback,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We will make sure that the feedback from the [Community Advisory Council] as well as from the surrounding neighborhoods is respected.”

Those surveyed said a casino could lead to the following:

  • More crime
  • Declining home values
  • Heavy traffic
  • Increased problem gambling

What a Rivers Casino in Chicago would look like

The billion-dollar casino will feature several amenities. Some of which include:

  • Eight restaurants
  • Five Bars and lounges
  • 300-room hotel
  • Riverfront plaza with an observation deck

From a gaming standpoint, the casino will feature 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games.

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Chicago casino deadline approaching

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to submit the winning bid to the Illinois Gaming Board in early 2022

Rush Street Gaming has two proposals on the table of the five bids. The 78-development and a $1.3 billion casino located at the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place.

The McCormick location will feature 2,600 slot machines, 190 table games, and 12 restaurants. Construction at the Lakeside Center would be the least expensive of the group and take only a year to complete. 

The other three bids are:

  • Chicago Tribune Publishing Center
  • Michael Reese Hospital site
  • ONE Central (near Soldier Field)
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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