by Al Brown, The Chicago Times
May 25, 2022
CHICAGO – The Chicago City Council is expected to rubber stamp Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Bally’s Chicago Casino in River West.
In a Monday meeting, 27 members on a special committee, appointed by Lightfoot, approved the proposed $1.73 billion dollar casino which green lights the proposal for a full council vote on Wednesday. If the casino proposal is passed it will be sent to the notorious Illinois Gaming Board which will grant a license to Bally’s to operate a casino set to be built along the river front near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.
Lightfoot faced resistance from 3 Northside members of the special City Council committee. Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, and Ald. Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward. Constituents of the Northside have voiced concerns that a casino will lower property values, create traffic congestion, and increase crime.
In a Chicago Times beat poll of the residents near the proposed casino site, 88 % of residents and business owners believe Illinois is now entering a “mafia” economy. 75 % of residents believe legalized prostitution will be next on the agenda, leading to the legalization of hardcore narcotics.
According to the proposal, the casino and “resort” would be built on the site owned by the diminished and tarnished Chicago Tribune. The once mighty Tribune, which abandoned Tribune Tower in 2018, would be forced to vacate its printing plant and newsroom.
Supporters of the proposal believe that nearly 3,000 union-controlled construction jobs will be created. In addition, 3,500 permanent hospitality jobs will also be created to support casino operations.
Scuttlebutt among Fifth Floor analysts believe Lightfoot is pushing the casino proposal through to brand as a crowning achievement when she runs for re-election. Lightfoot is also looking to pocket $200 million of expected revenue into the ever-hungry police and fire pension funds.