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Large Doses of Skepticism for Chicago Casinos

The idea of a casino in Chicago didn't sound like a good idea to a state-hire consultant, nor does it seem like the city's Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic likes the idea either.
August 18, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Rob Gruner

Blair Kamin, Meghan Kelly,Ryan Ori, and Mary Wisniewski report on the ongoing sage of the potential for a casino to be located in Chicago, a controversial issue and one of the main new items so far in the tenure of new Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

According to the article, the mayor is considering five potential sites, but a state-hired consultant has determined that the tax structure in Chicago will doom any casino to fail.

The Tribune did their own analysis of the five sites, all located on the South and West sides of the city, reflecting "Lightfoot's campaign pledge to direct economic developments to economically struggling areas of the city."

To provide a deeper understanding of the sites, Tribune researchers and reporters assembled data that focuses on characteristics like transportation (average daily traffic counts on nearby expressways, for example) and neighborhood characteristics such as average household income and crime levels. We also assessed whether each site has the support of its local alderman and gauged the overall size of the gambling market in northern Illinois and northern Indiana.

The article then provides specific details of the analysis for each of the five sites: Harborside, Michael Reese, Pershing and State, Roosevelt and Kostner, and U.S. Steel.

Kamin followed up the big feature article with a column suggesting (with "tongue planted firmly in cheek") suggestions for a casino in Chicago. The seriousness of that endeavor, and Kaimn's opinion of the idea, can be spotted instantly, with recommendations like: "Have President Donald Trump or family members running his business turn the perpetually vacant retail space at the bottom of his Chicago skyscraper into a casino. Never mind that Trump bankrupted his Atlantic City casinos."

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Published on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 in Chicago Tribune
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