Editor’s note: This story is updated to include the links to recordings of the Chicago Community Engagement meeting live streams.
There will be three community meetings this week to discuss each proposed Chicago casino location.
You must register online in order to attend. Here is the Chicago casino meeting schedule for the week:
Hard Rock Chicago meeting
- When: 6-8 p.m. April 5
- Where: Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.
- Watch Now: Watch the Hard Rock Chicago community meeting here
Bally’s Chicago meeting
- When: 6-8 p.m. April 6
- Where: Tribune Publishing plant, 700 W. Chicago Ave.
- Watch Now: Watch the Bally’s Chicago community meeting here
Rivers 78 meeting
- When: 6-8 p.m. April 7
- Where: Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road
- Watch Now: Watch the Rivers 78 Chicago community meeting here
It is also possible to watch the meetings online at Chicago.gov/live. You don’t need to preregister to watch the live stream.
As one can imagine, all of the casino proposals have faced backlash from community members. For example, the River North Residents Association (RNRA) wrote a letter opposing the Bally’s casino to aldermans Burnett, Reilly and Hopkins.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez also opposes the Rivers 78 proposal. While these casinos may have a net positive effect on the city of Chicago, they could create challenges for residents of those neighborhoods.
These meetings will serve as an opportunity for residents to voice their opposition to the casinos — or to support them if that is their position.
The latest Chicago casino news
There were previously five Chicago casino bids. The city recently chopped that list down to three, as Rivers Chicago McCormick and Bally’s McCormick Place are no longer in the running.
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns the McCormick Place convention center complex, did not want to turn any of its facilities into a casino. That’s why the city ultimately decided not to move forward with the McCormick bids.
That leaves the three proposals listed above. There will be community meetings this week, and the city hopes to decide on the winner by early summer.
From there, the winning bidder and the city would have to apply for a casino license with the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). The IGB approval process can take up to two years, so a Chicago casino likely won’t come to fruition for quite a while.
Why are the casino proposals facing local opposition?
While Chicagoans may generally favor building a casino in the city, it’s not hard to see why residents of specific neighborhoods would oppose a massive gaming hub so close to their homes.
Here is an excerpt from the letter from the RNRA:
“The additional strain on existing infrastructure, noise, bright lighting and traffic congestion, not to mention the probable negative effect on local propoerty values, are completely unreasonable burdens to place on the surrounding residential communities.”
The other proposals face similar opposition.
At any rate, the city will choose one of these three bids. For many local Chicagoans, it’s all about avoiding the grenade.