* The Tribune reports that Mayor Lightfoot has forwarded the locations of five potential Chicago casino sites to the new consultant…
A state-hired consultant will study the economic feasibility of the sites and report its findings to the state and city. City officials stressed that the casino won’t necessarily wind up at one of the five spots, which it characterized as test sites.
The five are: “Harborside” at 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway; the former Michael Reese Hospital site at 31st Street and Cottage Grove Avenue; a site at Pershing Road and State Street, which was formerly public housing; Roosevelt Road and Kostner Avenue; and the former U.S. Steel parcel, known as South Works, which is between 79th and 91st streets along South Lake Shore Drive.
The sites all have previously been considered for a casino or other large-scale developments, the city said.
Notably absent from the list were downtown sites, like the McCormick Place Lakeside Center and Navy Pier, which have been bandied about as possible casino locations by real estate experts and newspaper columnists. They argued that putting the casino downtown would maximize revenue and create the most jobs.
* Ed Zotti wrote about the topic this week…
The first is the “island casino” model — the term used by Klebanow and Gallaway in their 2015 report. The casino and related activity — typically a hotel, restaurants and bars, shops, entertainment venues, other attractions and parking — are designed as a single, self-contained complex.
Patrons drive to the casino and don’t leave until they’ve spent their last dime hours later and drive home. They never set foot in the surrounding neighborhood and might as well have been visiting Madagascar. The great majority of U.S. casinos are designed this way, Klebanow and Gallaway found. […]
A casino on the South Side almost certainly would be an island-type facility. The Michael Reese site, among other drawbacks, is separated from downtown by the Stevenson Expressway. The benefit to the surrounding area would be zero.
An island casino might retard redevelopment, suggesting the neighborhood is a dumping ground for uses nobody else wants.
A downtown location would require skillful planning and execution but have greater potential upside. It would check most of the boxes Klebanow and Gallaway cite as “critical success factors for the modern urban casino” — among them a pedestrian-friendly environment, proximity to an existing entertainment/dining district and good transit and highway access.
* Back to the consultant…
Union Gaming Analytics was selected from among three bids, two of which were disqualified because they submitted after the application deadline, the gaming board announced Friday.
Those late bids came in along an aggressive timeline set under the massive gambling expansion signed into law June 28. The state missed its first deadline by four days under that legislation, which had required that a consultant be selected by Monday.
The gaming board is still aiming to stay on track with the legislative timeline, despite the initial hiccup that officials chalked up to state procurement regulations.
That is about as “Illinois” as you can get.
* Meanwhile, in Waukegan…
As the city of Waukegan extends the deadline for interested casino developers to submit their proposals, the would-be developers behind Waukegan’s 2009 effort claim the city cannot contractually go with anyone but them.
The fight centers on a 2004 redevelopment agreement in which the city granted Waukegan Gaming LLC, then under a different name, the “exclusive right” to develop and operate a casino in Waukegan.
The last casino license Waukegan Gaming LLC was vying for ultimately went to Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, in part over concerns raised by the Illinois Gaming Board about the firm’s ties to William Cellini, a political insider indicted on a pay-to-play scheme. […]
The initially short deadline and the long list of requirements was “drafted to discourage not encourage competing proposals,” according to Waukegan Gaming’s draft counter-complaint. “It was designed to ensure that the City would support and approve only one bidder.”
That bidder, the firm argues, is Bond, a former state senator who now owns a video gambling operation with a heavy presence in Lake County.
* Illinois gambling expansion could take a while. Here’s a look at what’s to come.
* Seven groups interested in building casino in Danville; proposals due July 31: Foster also questioned the mayor about the preferred site, located along Interstate 74 near the Indiana border and Lynch Road. Some have wondered why a downtown location wasn’t given top billing, he added. Williams said that because of the tight timeline to submit a final casino development package to the Illinois Gaming Board — about 100 days from now — a site has to be shovel-ready.
* Hard Rock announces casino proposal for Rockford; further details forthcoming
* Business leaders react to Hard Rock Casino Gary: ‘It’s going to be huge’