Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » All’s well that ends well
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
All’s well that ends well

Monday, Jun 17, 2019

* Sun-Times

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she tried for the city-owned casino her predecessors favored, but ultimately agreed to a privately owned facility more than triple the size of existing Illinois casinos to get the help Chicago desperately needs to bankroll police and fire pensions.

“It’s not that I didn’t [insist on municipal ownership]. We tried, but it was very clear that was a proposal that wasn’t going to make its way through the General Assembly,” she said. […]

“Chicago is the economic center of the state. But the dynamics built up over many decades [that] Chicago can’t be treated differently or in a special way by members of the General Assembly. … Particularly for people Downstate, they’ve got to go home to their constituents,” Lightfoot said.

“The legislative process is about compromise. We were able to get an important marker down to start the process for a Chicago casino. … People have been talking about a Chicago casino since casino gambling came to this state almost 30 years ago. This is the first time we’ve actually got concrete steps in the right direction to make that hope a reality.”

* WTTW

Unlike previous proposals, this will not be a city-owned venture (though Chicago is set to get a third of the casino’s adjusted gross receipts, so it’s in the city’s interests for any eventual operator to succeed).

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that’s at the city’s request, though he backs the decision because he believes a “business-oriented partner” will “make it a more effective endeavor.”

* The Reader’s Deanna Isaacs tried to get to the bottom of this discrepancy

So I called Lightfoot’s office to ask for an explanation. Deputy communications director Lauren Huffman responded with a written statement that ducked the question but made the point that a casino “will create a new revenue stream and will allow us to shore up underfunded police and fire pensions.” She thought maybe I should ask the bill’s sponsors.

In the Illinois House, that would be 28th District rep Robert Rita. His answer came from spokesman Ryan Keith, who told me Rita himself had proposed a city- or state-owned casino in the past, but, in this instance, “I think they just decided it was cleanest and simplest to do it the way they do all the other casinos”—that is, with private owners.

Who decided? “The negotiators,” Keith said, “representatives from all the different legislative caucuses, the governor’s office. The city obviously was involved.”

Northeastern Illinois University economics professor Michael Wenz, who studies gambling as an economic development strategy, says that, compared to past Illinois casino deals, the city did well. “A third of AGR [adjusted gross revenue] is a good deal,” Wenz told me. “They can do that without having to worry about the costs, without having to worry about anything. And it’ll be wildly profitable.”

Casino revenue has been flat or even down recently, cannibalized by the spread of video gambling, but Wenz says it’s reasonable to expect that a well-located city casino could do three times what Rivers Casino in Des Plaines does in volume. Figures from the Illinois Gaming Board show that Rivers’s AGR in 2018 was $441 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Groucho - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    Who gets what share of the other 2/3’s?


  2. - SSL - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    It’s much cleaner to let the professionals own it and run it. Just be sure the City gets to audit the books. We all know what happened to Moe Green when Mike thought he was skimming off the top.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    Chicago has been setting tourism records of late, so the casino and legal marijuana will be other attractions, as will the Obama Center, when or if it gets built.


  4. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Sometimes a third of a loaf of bread is better than no loaf of bread.


  5. - Groucho - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    The Lucas would have drawn some big numbers also.


  6. - Dude - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    What a thoughtful, grown up, tenable explanation by the Mayor. Nice.


  7. - NotRich - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:46 pm:

    The City will get over $300 million a year from this casino.. “IF” they put it within a 10 minute cab ride from downtown..


  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Jun 17, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    I wonder if Mayor Lightfoot took the Chicago ownership position as a negotiating tactic. Start with a really high demand so you can bargain down to what you actually want. With her experience as federal prosecutor, I think she would see why Chicago ownership of a casino is treacherous at best.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller