The Illinois legislature conducted a special veto session earlier this week, to address A proposed tax rate against a new casino. An amendment to the bill written and by State Representative Bob Rita failed to gain traction. The amendment called for a more reasonable tax rate to be assessed, which will be more manageable for casino owners. The Legislator failed to come with a viable solution, but instead just dug their heels in. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said she along with many Chicagoans are very disappointed. The Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker passed into law a bill that paved the way for legalized gambling in June.

The Casino Has Been In The Works For The Last Thirty Years

Lightfoot and Rep.Rita said the legislators failed to come with a compromise is a huge blow to the people of Chicago. The casino profits were earmarked for the decaying pension funds of police and firefighters. Lightfoot said not only would the pension funds greatly benefit from casino profits, but the casino was also expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to Chicago. Over the summer Lightfoot layed out five possible locations where the casino could be built. However, after analyzing reports casino owner said none of the locations would turn over any profits. So the project going forward is stalled for now. This would be the first casino in Chicago, and after Governor Pritzker passed gambling, there have been negotiations for other casinos as well. Lightfoot said this is a huge failure, and frustrating, since many other cities in Illinois have casinos now, and other projects moving forward.

Mayor Lightfoot Believes Another Issue Is The Upfront Costs To Casino Owners

Lightfoot said this loss ‘is a devastating blow to the people of Chicago’. The mayor also is concerned about the upfront fees the city is charging prospective casino owners. Both Lightfoot and Rita said ‘these fees are completely out of line with like sized cities, it’s completely outrageous.’ The application fee alone is, $250.000, once an application is approved there is a $15 million reconciliation fee.

There is also a $120 million gambling position fees, Lightfoot believes, ‘the city should be doing all it can to attract casino owners to Chicago not scare them away.’ The outrageous upfront fees were supposed to be on the calendar for discussion in the legislature. However instead of lower the tax rate and discussing these fees, lawmakers had another agenda. Lightfoot said, ‘the legislator was focused on stricter background checks for anyone applying for a gambling license.

Also Not Giving Up Hope On The Casino Opening In 2020

Lightfoot believes that there is still a strong chance for the casino being opened in 2020. Lightfoot said she will adjourn a meeting in January ahead of the full session starting. She believes that a compromise can be reached, and the casino will open in 2020.


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