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After A Year Of Doing Nothing Chicago Has Finally Taken A Step Forward Towards Opening A Casino

Crains - The flashy RFI and an accompanying economic summary, which in some ways resemble the city’s pitch for Amazon’s HQ2 a couple of years ago, do not say where the facility should be located, how big it should be or whether mini-casinos should be allowed at the city’s two airports. Instead, it says the city is seeking industry “feedback, suggestions and comments” before proceeding to the actual bid process, known as a request for proposal.

But the documents appear to drop some big hints of what’s being sought. 

For example, though Mayor Lori Lightfoot has talked about the possibility of locating the casino in an outlying neighborhood, 12 of the 13 pictures in the RFI are of central-area features, including the lakefront, Soldier Field and Cloud Gate at Millennium Park.

Chicago represents “the largest untapped gaming opportunity in the country,” the city said. “The project will need to provide a unique entertainment and gaming experience.”

Chicago Casino RFI by AnnRWeiler on Scribd

Halle-fuckin-lujah. A BIG BIG round of applause for the City Of Chicago on this.

Giphy Images.

City officials have been so busy curbing violence, protecting area small businesses, and finding ways to lower crippling taxes that it really is impressive they found the time to finally get to work on rolling out the casino they approved to open two years ago. 

Giphy Images.

There is only (checks Crains) "$615 million in potential tax revenue" at stake here. For a city and state as flush with cash as Chicago, Illinois that's just a drop in the bucket. So clearly it wasn't a huge priority or rush for anybody.

And if there's one thing the City of Chicago knows better than anybody, it's proposal pitching. 

Chicago is the Prestige Worldwide of pitching big ideas.

Anybody that remembers their Olympic games proposal bid for 2016 knows what I'm talking about. 

There's a reason Chicago was knocked out of the first round of voting. Maybe it was not having their bid federally underwritten. Maybe it was subjecting the committee to more than 20 of these videos -

(sidebar - this video is gold)

Or you can look to their failed Amazon HQ2 proposals-

Curbed - 

  • Amazon was concerned with Chicago’s struggle with violent crime, revealed emails uncovered by Crain’s. Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin responded by describing a rise in murders as “a spike” and said police had made progress on the issue.
  • Feeling good about their chances and wanting be prepared for any eventuality, City Hall preemptively drafted a press release announcing Chicago as the winner of HQ2. “Today Chicago begins a close partnership with Amazon as it builds its new home and continues to reach new heights for generations to come,” said Mayor Emanuel in a document cited in the report.
  • The FOIA request does not, however, reveal how much money the public-private partnership known as World Business Chicago sank in drafting the Chicago bid. It was rumored that William Shatner was paid $50,000 for voiceover work as part of the city’s official bid video, but that figure remains unconfirmed.

Only a city led by people as delusional as Chicago has to offer would think the way to whoo Jeff Bezos was to play hardball -

A very unusual accompanying letter—signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the four legislative leaders of the state House and Senate—dangled the possibility of more breaks. “When you have narrowed the field and are engaged in more specific conversations with us,” their joint letter states, “we are prepared to promptly consider other incentives that represent sound economic policy."

(sidebar - Chicago's offer was less than half of NY's which makes this tactic even more embarrassing)

Right now the city plans on this casino opening in 2025 (lol). So fingers crossed, if city officials figure out a way for themselves to profit on the side, we'll actually see this thing before 2030.