Bally’s, Hard Rock, Rivers competing in the Chicago IR tendering process

Chicago has revealed details of proposals received to build an integrated casino complex in the city, with Bally’s Corporation, Hard Rock and Rivers Casino among the bidders.

Bally’s submitted two proposals, each comprising a 500-room hotel, six restaurants, bars and lounges, as well as a 70,000 square foot entertainment venue and 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. Its gaming floor would include 3,400 slot machines and 173 table games.

If it were to be located on the site of the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center in the city of Chicago, it would cost $ 1.8 billion to build. The cost would drop to $ 1.6 billion if the facility were located at the McCormick Place truck yard.

Rush Street, through its Rivers brand, has also put forward two proposals. The first, for the Lakeside Center in McCormick Place, would cost $ 1.3 billion to build. It would use the Lakeside Center’s 2,900 hotel rooms, adding another 250, and the renovated 4,200-seat Arie Crown Theater.

The property would also include 12 restaurants and a food hall, as well as bars and lounges, as well as a casino with 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games.

The other is a $ 2.0 billion development. This property would be with 300 rooms; eight restaurants / cafes and a food hall, five bars and lounges, a Riverfront plaza, an observation tower with indoor and outdoor observation space and Harbor Hall, a versatile riverside venue for live entertainment . It would also house a casino with 2,600 slot machines and 190 table games.

Hard Rock International, meanwhile, submitted a bid for a $ 1.7 billion resort, comprising 500 rooms, eight restaurants, six bars and lounges, and a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live entertainment venue. The casino in this development would include 3,400 slot machines and 166 table games.

“The caliber of Bally’s Corporation’s proposals, [Hard Rock and Rush Street] are aligned with our vision to develop a world-class Chicago experience that will generate significant economic growth and employment opportunities for our communities, ”said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

“Each proposal provides a unique take on what Chicago’s casino complex could look like, and our expert review panels are ready to dive into the discussions to usher in a new and exciting era for our city.”

The candidates will present their proposals to the public on December 16. From the beginning of 2022, the city of Chicago will then enter into negotiations with the bidders. It will also initiate reviews by relevant municipal departments and agencies at this stage, after which revisions to the proposals may be made.

There will then be follow-up community meetings to present these revisions, after which the city will select its final candidate. The city council will then introduce an ordinance in support of the development, while the successful bidder will have to submit an application for the project.

This will be subject to the approval of the Chicago Planning Commission and City Council Zoning, Benchmarks and Building Standards Committee, before a final ordinance supporting the applicant and the development is issued.

A Gaming Expansion Bill was enacted in Illinois in 2019, paving the way for the deployment of sports betting and the expansion of the state’s casino industry.

The bill also gave the green light to the creation of six new land-based casinos, including the one in Chicago. License fees for casinos and racetracks have been set at $ 10 million, with four-year online licenses costing $ 20 million.

Chicago issued its call for tenders (RFP) in April this year for the construction and operation of an integrated hotel complex in the city. The chosen partner will be the city’s sole casino licensee, with the property slated to open by 2025.


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