Illinois Gaming Board Chops South Suburban Casino Applicant List In Half, 2 Bids Remain

Written By Joe Boozell on October 20, 2021 - Last Updated on December 8, 2021
south suburban casino finalists

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) narrowed the list of South Suburban casino candidates to two.

Wind Creek LLC Homewood East Hazel Crest and South Suburban Matteson are the final two bids remaining. During the IGB meeting Wednesday, the board voted “no” on Southland LIVE LLC and Southland Ho-Chunk Entertainment LLC Lynwood.

Wednesday’s vote was long-anticipated. Three of the four groups applied for a casino license all the way back in October 2019. The process has moved at an extremely slow pace, but at last, it is picking up steam.

On Oct. 28, the two applicants will each have an opportunity to present their case to the board if they so choose. With that said, a presentation is not mandatory.

We are expecting to have a final IGB decision for the south suburban and Waukegan casinos by mid-January. There are also two applicants remaining in the Waukegan casino license process.

But on Wednesday, the board only addressed matters related to the south suburbs. Here’s what we know about the remaining two applicants.

And then there were two South Suburban casino candidates

Either Wind Creek Homewood East Hazel Crest or South Suburban Matteson will win the south suburban license.

Below is a quick breakdown and rendering of each bidder:

South Suburban Casino Matteson

  • Application date: Aug. 26, 2020
  • Partner: Choctaw Nation
  • Will there be a temporary casino? Yes
  • Permanent location: Former Lincoln Mall, near I-57 and I-30, in Matteson
  • Key features: Hotel, indoor pool and spa, indoor golf, multi-purpose event center, upscale restaurants and multi-cultural heritage exhibit

The project would create 609 permanent jobs. The space would have 123,000 square feet of gaming space, featuring 1,300 slots and 42 table games.

Unlike Wind Creek, we do not know the development cost or plans for a sportsbook.

Wind Creek Casino Homewood/East Hazel Crest

  • Application date: Oct. 25, 2019
  • Partner: Poarch Band of Creek Indians
  • Will there be a temporary casino? No
  • Permanent location: On property near East Hazel Crest and Homewood, at the interchange of I-80/294
  • Development cost: $440 million
  • Other features: Four-diamond hotel, restaurants, bars and entertainment center and skyline lounge

The Wind Creek project would create 800 permanent jobs, and we know it plans to have a sportsbook.

It would be smaller than the Matteson casino, however, with 69,190 square feet of gaming space. There would be 1,350 slots and 56 table games.

Homewood/East Hazel Crest is about six miles northeast of Matteson.

Key Chicago casino deadline approaching

On Friday, Oct. 29, Request For Proposals (RFP) are due for the Chicago casino license.

The deadline was previously in August, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot extended it to give bidders more time to assess the project. It appears as though there wasn’t much interest in the license, as various large gaming companies have said they will pass.

We know, however, that Rush Street Gaming is interested in the license. Rush Street also recently dropped its bid for the Waukegan casino license.

And it’s possible that another gaming giant is in play. Hard Rock chairman Jim Allen said the company is “reevaluating the opportunity.” This isn’t the biggest vote of confidence, but it’s more optimistic compared to statements from other company CEOs.

More than two years after Illinois passed gaming expansion, we are starting to see some tangible progress.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, and Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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