New Chicago Casino Site List Narrowed To 5 Locations

Written By Derek Helling on August 21, 2019 - Last Updated on January 6, 2020
Chicago casino site selection.

The north and east sides of Chicago might feel slighted. A list has narrowed possible new Chicago casino sites to the south and west sides of town.

Lawmakers have five potential locations in their sights now. Those decision-makers are still a long way off from making a choice, however.

Details on the new Chicago casino site selection

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot made five suggestions for the site. Those sites defined the parameters for analysis by Union Gaming Analytics.

The five locations are:

  • Harborside
  • Michael Reese
  • Pershing and State
  • Roosevelt and Kostner
  • US Steel

The proximity to Indiana casinos and transportation options were just a few factors that went into the study. Additionally, it looked at:

  • Aldermen support
  • Crime levels
  • Household income
  • Population density

Although some sites had distinct advantages in some factors, a clear winner is hard to distinguish.

How the five casino sites stack up

Pershing and State wins the transportation option, as its proximity to Guaranteed Rate Field creates natural traffic flow and offers many public transportation options. The drawback, however, is that the local alderman objects to the casino being placed in her ward.

The lack of alderman support is also a drawback for Michael Reese. That area boasts the lowest crime rate of the five potential locations, however, and a strong population density.

Harborside actually has the support of the local alderman, but it brings the lowest population density of the five sites to the table. It’s also the closest location to Indiana casinos, giving it competition nearby.

Roosevelt and Kostner is the site closest to the most affluent parts of the city. It’s also the furthest from Indiana casinos. It has the highest crime rate of the five by a large margin, however.

US Steel also does not have alderman support and is the worst of the five for transportation options. There is no CTA “L” link to the area, and even by bus, some walking would be required.

As none of the sites check all the boxes, options for the casino are still wide open.

A sixth possibility for a Chicago casino: None of the above

The final landing spot for the casino isn’t by any means bound to Lightfoot’s proposals. Downtown Chicago is still a possibility. That would make sense as far as putting the casino in the most affluent part of the city goes.

There are other concerns, however. Because of the proximity of Indiana casinos and Rivers Casino, the Chicago region is already considered the third-largest gambling market in the US.

That makes market saturation a legitimate worry. Indiana gaming companies are already working to compete for gambling dollars in the region by building a new casino in Gary.

The Union Gaming Analytics report will have a lot to say about the chances of a new mega-casino in Chicago being successful. If the forecast is positive, it could include one of the five sites proposed by Lightfoot.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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