RFI Yields Important Input for New Mega-Casino
On Wednesday, the city of Chicago stated that a total of 11 casino operators and real estate companies have responded to its inquiry pertaining to the potential location of a planned casino-resort. The majority of responding companies agreed that the future casino would be best situated in the downtown area of the third-largest metropolis in the US.
Respondents, which include big-name brands such as MGM Resorts, Hard Rock International, Rush Street and Wynn Resorts, believe that the casino-resort should be equipped with multiple amenities and conveniences to drive up player engagement and interest. This includes a hotel, retail shops, food and drink outlets, parking as well as room for various gatherings and events.
The primary factors that the participants considered when making their decision for a location include, but are not limited to, visibility, proximity to other amenities and attractions, neighborhood acceptance and economic development, though they noted that the latter would not be the key driving factor.
The companies also agree that the global COVID-19 pandemic would not have a significant negative impact on the project. Furthermore, they believe that community support is paramount for the casino-resort’s success – a sentiment shared by the Mayor’s office.
However, there is still no official decision as to the exact location of the new mega-casino. For now, responders have agreed that they would need between 10 and 25 acres of free land to build a structure that would be able to house the entirety of the project.
Participants also advised that the casino should begin operations in another nearby structure while its permanent housing is under construction. No consensus about the specifics has been reached so far. However, a renewed tax law has given hopes that the casino will be arriving sooner rather than later.
Mayor Optimistic about Project’s Impact and Future
On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Linda Lightfoot stated that this RFI is indicative of strong excitement and interest in the development of the casino, which she refers to as “a once-in-a-lifetime project”. “Thanks to the responses of nearly a dozen RFI respondents, we are not only one step closer to bringing the long-awaited Chicago casino to life but have the critical information we need to ensure this project will be a success.”, Ms Lightfoot continued.
The Mayor’s office expects that actual bidding would begin early in the coming year, though the specifics are set to change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops and how it affects the state of the capital markets.
Ms Lightfoot has stated that the casino-resort has been decades in the making and that it would be a significant boom to Chicago and its citizens. The renewed push for a casino comes amid several key changes in the overall perception for the project and gathering support among lawmakers for it.
Earlier this year, the state’s Senate passed SB 516 which outlined tax rules and pushed the project one step closer to realization.