The city of Chicago faces a $1.2B budget deficit, and with the possibility of getting federal stimulus dollars in 2021 looking slim, the Lightfoot administration is casting about for new sources of revenue. The state legislature’s 2019 decision to expand Illinois gambling could provide the cash-strapped city a lifeline, and the mayor just began the process to finally establish a Chicago casino.
Before the city starts getting its share of gamblers’ losses, the mayor and her planning team need to decide where to place a gaming operation. Lightfoot has spoken of using a new casino as a way of pushing economic development in a deprived portion of the city, and that’s won her allies on City Council.
“I am behind building it with union labor, and getting good-paying jobs for our ward,” 10th Ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza said.
Others say the entire strategy is flawed, and that a casino is unlikely to spur ancillary development or solve budget shortfalls.
Neighborhood developers have proposed planting a casino in Garza’s Far Southeast Side area, as one part of a resort-style development that would include a hotel, a golf course and other tourist attractions.“There is no other place in Chicago that would offer these amenities,” she added. “It would not just be…
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