Chicago Mayor Pushing for Downtown Casino

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets guests at an event held. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

As the third largest city in the country, Chicago would be a prime spot for a casino. At least that’s what mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks as she continues to make a push for it. Lightfoot went as far as to call it a once in a generation opportunity. She expressed her feelings at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States.

Illinois Has Made Its Mark Since Launching

In May of this year, The Illinois Gaming Board reported a sports betting handle of approximately $507.3 million. That was good for second in the country, a feat they achieved for the second month running as well. Since launching in March 2020, Illinois has made a huge splash in the legal sports betting market which is no surprise. It is a hub in the Midwest and boasts the third largest city (Chicago) in the country.

Now Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is looking to make a downtown casino a reality. Who can blame her? With all the revenue pouring into her state, she can obviously see that a downtown Chicago casino would have massive earning potential. As one of the world class cities in the country, the revenue stream would be a big time win for Lightfoot. That is why she has wasted no time getting to work, promoting a downtown casino in her city as a “once in a generation opportunity”.

Lightfoot Has Put In the Work

Senate Bill 516 passed by a 42-14 vote in the Senate which paved the way for the possibility of a downtown casino in Chicago. Lightfoot was able to get a change to the city tax structure for any casino that opens in the downtown area. The 33.3% “privilege” tax on adjusted gross revenue for the city of Chicago that was in the original gaming bill made it very unappealing for potential stakeholders. The new rates are quite extensive as they are based on tiers. The most important thing to understand is that the revision has made Chicago a great opportunity for potential investors.

The numbers in the state speak for themselves as for the fifth consecutive month bettors in Illinois wagered more than half a billion dollars on sports. That’s more than Nevada in case you were wondering so there is no shortage of potential. In terms of geographic location, take into account that over half of the U.S population is a one-two-day drive from Chicago making it a clear hub city in the Midwest. It’s no wonder Lightfoot is trying to sell her dream to anyone willing to listen.

Local Government Will Look to Be Facilitators

Another selling point from Lightfoot’s point of view is that her office will obviously be a “friend” to the industry which is not always the case. Lightfoot looks at a downtown casino as an opportunity to create jobs in her community. She has also spoken about best practices and has

remarked that she will be using Las Vegas as an example of best practices. All in all, Lightfoot recognizes that Chicago has an earning power that has the potential to exceed Las Vegas in terms of sports betting handles.

For now, Chicago residents can go to Rivers Casino which is conveniently near the airport for those visiting from out of town. Let’s face it, a downtown casino would be a game changer. Locally, the city boasts no less than five professional teams in the four major professional leagues plus a host of college teams. OddsTrader currently offers betting odds comparison in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa and West Virginia.

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