When Illinois passed its sports betting legislation last spring, casino expansion came along with it, including the addition of a gambling facility in Chicago.
This week, two tribal groups proposed bids for that gaming license in the Windy City.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians proposed a 64,000-square-foot hotel-casino to the Homewood village board Monday just a day before the Ho-Chunk Nation pitched its $380 million casino to the Lynwood village board.
Both proposals were approved by the respective Chicago suburbs.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians from Alabama already own and operate casinos in Florida, Nevada and their home state, while Ho-Chunk Gaming would be looking to open its first casino outside its home state of Wisconsin.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told local media in the past that he would prefer to see the new casino built in downtown Chicago. If space can’t be found within the city limits, however, other lawmakers have expressed that the southern suburbs would make the best fit.
Both Lynwood and Homewood are located outside the city limits and on the southeastern outskirts of Cook County, near the Indiana border. Both locations would be less than 10 miles from Hammond, IN, where the Horseshoe Casino resides, currently the closest casino to Chicago.
Lynwood Mayor Eugene Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times that the non-downtown location should actually be a selling point.
“We’re almost as far south and east as you can go and still be in Cook County,” said Williams. “It’s a perfect position to get those dollars that have been driving to Indiana.”
With both proposals passed by the town, the tribal groups can formally submit their plans to the gaming board. Other possible casino developers have until October 28 to submit their applications to the Illinois Gaming Board.
According to the Sun-Times, there are “At least four other south suburbs have indicated they’ll vie for the casino, but have yet to announce a developer or proposal.”
Once the deadline hits, the gaming board then has a one-year period to choose which project will receive the license.