Las Vegas casino union members told state lawmakers this week to back legislation that protects…
Posted on: August 7, 2021, 11:26h.
Final up to date on: August 7, 2021, 11:26h.
Steve Bittenbender Learn Extra
As anticipated, Chicago officers introduced on Friday afternoon that the deadline to submit proposals for town’s deliberate on line casino has been prolonged by greater than 9 weeks.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a July 15 groundbreaking for a brand new park facility. On Friday afternoon, the mayor introduced the deadline to submit a proposal for town’s on line casino alternative has been prolonged till Oct. 29. (Picture: Chicago Mayor’s Workplace/Fb)
The brand new deadline is Oct. 29 at 2 pm CT. In April, when metropolis officers launched the request for proposals for the event undertaking, they requested paperwork by 2 pm CT on Aug. 23, two weeks from this Monday.
Nevertheless, as Crain’s Chicago Enterprise reported earlier this week, the potential of only one firm submitting a proposal was turning into a stronger probability after MGM Resorts Worldwide and Wynn Resorts – two of the 4 gaming corporations that responded to a preliminary request for data final yr – publicly disclosed they’d move on the chance.
With the clock winding down, Crain’s reported different operators expressed curiosity however wanted extra time.
In a press release, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot stated the additional time will permit these contemplating a bid to do extra analysis into the alternatives and work to safe financing for what is going to possible be a billion-dollar growth based mostly on officers’ want for it to be inbuilt or close to downtown.
Extending the deadline for bidders will permit town to gather as many sturdy, impactful and transformative proposals as doable,” Lightfoot stated. “I sit up for seeing these bids roll in and dealing very intently with whichever staff is in the end chosen to develop Chicago’s first-ever on line casino.”
Along with extending the proposal submission interval, Chicago officers will permit yet another question-and-answer interval, with new questions concerning the solicitation as a result of metropolis on Oct. 1 by 5 pm CT.
Is There a Favourite for Chicago’s On line casino?
The one firm that’s been anticipated to bid on the on line casino is Rush Road Gaming, a domestically based mostly firm that additionally responded to the RFI. Led by Chairman Neil Bluhm, Rush Road operates Rivers Casinos, that are positioned in Des Plaines, IL; Schenectady, NY; Pittsburgh; and Philadelphia.
A message to a Rush Road spokesperson was not instantly returned on Friday.
The Rivers On line casino in Des Plaines, a Chicago suburb close to O’Hare Worldwide Airport, is presently the biggest within the state. Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. owns the bulk stake within the venue, with Rush Road proudly owning the rest.
Whereas Rush Road is a Chicago firm, there are different native connections that will give officers some pause ought to it’s the one bidder for the on line casino license. In accordance with the Illinois State Board of Elections, Leslie Bluhm and Meredith Bluhm-Wolf, each daughters of Neil Bluhm, contributed a mixed $212,500 to Lightfoot’s 2019 profitable mayoral marketing campaign.
As well as, when Chicago journal positioned Leslie Bluhm in its 50 Most Highly effective Girls in Chicago itemizing final yr, it famous Lightfoot was a “legislation college pal” and that the co-founder of a outstanding Chicago nonprofit service group was “childhood mates” with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
These relationships in addition to her “billionaire dad” present that “Bluhm has the sort of entry to funding and policy-makers that opens doorways,” the journal wrote.
When town launched the RFP almost 4 months in the past, Lightfoot stated she hoped the chance would garner curiosity from main Las Vegas operators and that the assessment course of could be open and clear.
MGM and Wynn have been the one Las Vegas-based gaming corporations to reply to the RFI. In addition to Rush Road, Arduous Rock Worldwide was the opposite to reply. Nevertheless, an RFI submission was not a prerequisite to reply to the RFP.
Impression of Extension
The extension will nearly actually trigger a delay within the choice course of. Based mostly on the timeline within the unique solicitation, public displays from bidders have been slated to start out in late September. Chicago officers would then determine a number of bidders within the fall to turn into finalists
Beneath that schedule, town would have chosen a closing applicant in early 2022 that might have wanted to be accepted by the Chicago Metropolis Council and, in the end, the Illinois Gaming Board.
Bidders even have the choice to submit a proposal to function slot machines at each O’Hare and Halfway airports.
One of many largest challenges going through Chicago’s on line casino undertaking is the tax price tied to revenues. When the expanded gaming legislation granting town a license handed in 2019, the mix of the gross receipts tax and one other levy to cowl first responder pensions established an efficient tax price of 72 %. Lightfoot labored with lawmakers in Springfield to decrease that to about 40 %.
The town additionally stated it prefers working with an operator that can construct your entire undertaking in a single section with such facilities as a 500-room resort to go along with the on line casino. The aim is to have the everlasting facility open by 2025, though a short lived venue may open sooner upon the state issuing the license.
“This historic on line casino undertaking stands to broaden the financial vibrancy and power of our metropolis by bringing sustainable, good-paying jobs to residents from underrepresented backgrounds and making a world-class casino-resort that draws guests from throughout,” Lightfoot stated within the launch.
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