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Many Contender Sites for Chicago Casino

The decision about where to locate a new casino project depends on competing goals—to maximize revenues or bring jobs and development to neighborhoods that need them.
June 13, 2019, 2pm PDT | Camille Fink
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Niko Hays

"A Chicago casino gives Mayor Lori Lightfoot her first chance to shepherd a major construction and economic development project from start to finish, but she faces a tough choice: Make a safe bet by putting the gambling venue near the Loop or roll the dice on an area that needs jobs and tourist dollars," report Ryan Ori and Blair Kamin.

Potential sites closer to downtown, such as the former Michael Reese Hospital site, would be easier to access and the result would likely be more tax revenue raised to help tackle city and state fiscal woes. But a casino in another part of the city, including several locations on the city's South Side, could transform an area, write Ori and Kamin.

"A less-discussed, long-shot location sits across the Dan Ryan Expressway from the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field: Formerly home to the crime-ridden high-rises of Stateway Gardens and the Robert Taylor Homes, it remains mostly vacant but is accessible from the Ryan, the CTA’s Red and Green lines and Metra Rock Island trains."

The location of the casino relative to the Loop is one issue, but Ori and Kamin point out that other concernssuch as existing infrastructure, the amount of land needed for the project, and competing development planswill also factor into the final decision.

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