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Illinois Gaming Board Narrows List for Chicago South Suburbs Casino




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Casino gambling is coming to Chicago’s south suburbs. The plans have been in the works for quite some time. However, recent developments have painted a much clearer picture of how everything might play out.

Three tribal gaming operations and one commercial partnership were in the running but the Illinois Casino Gaming Board has reduced the list to two.

Making the cut was the Poarch Band of Creek Indians with their proposal. Also on the shortlist for an Oklahoma casino is the Choctaw Nation. The state has approved the construction of one land-based casino in Chicago’s south suburbs.

The final decision on the winning proposal will be announced sometime next year. The next step is a formal presentation by each remaining group.

Chicago South Suburbs Casino Locations

The location of one possible gaming venue would be near the border of Homewood and East Hazel Crest. This location is part of the Wind Creek Hospitality proposal. That tribe is based in Alabama.

Local businessman Rob Miller and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma have identified Matteson as the location for their casino proposal.

The first of two bids that failed to make the cut in the approval process was backed by sports legend Bo Jackson as part of the Calumet City proposal. The other bid was entered by the Ho-Chunk Nation as part of the Lynwood proposal.

The two remaining applicants will be making their presentations to the Illinois Gaming Board. This will be part of a special meeting sometime in the near future. The final selection for the winning bid will not be made until 2022.

Bringing Casino Gambling to Chicago Area

This entire process has been two years in the making. The initial proposals were submitted for a casino in Chicago’s south suburbs. Earlier in October, state regulators decided to narrow down the choices to two.

The vote by the board was unanimous (4-0). It was based on “the quality of the development presentation, and the support to and from the local community.” These two parameters were relayed by board chairman Charles Schmadeke.

Chicago’s South Suburbs Casino Plans

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians currently owns and operates 10 different gaming operations in Alabama, as well as Florida casinos, Nevada casinos, and Pennsylvania casinos in the US market. The tribe also has gaming interests in Curacao.

The Homewood-East Hazel Crest proposal is a $300 million project that calls for 64,000 square feet of gaming space. It would be located off Interstate 80 at the 175th Street and Halsted Street exit.

The plans also include a 21-story luxury hotel and entertainment center. Part of the gaming mix would include a retail sportsbook since sports betting is legal in the state.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a gaming tribe that owns and operates 22 casinos. In conjunction with Miller, this $300 million proposal would be located at the Lincoln Mall at Lincoln Highway and Cicero Avenue.

The gaming space would cover 123,000 square feet. The hotel would offer luxury accommodations with 200 rooms. Plans also add space for a convention center.

Back in 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation that would add six new casino venues to the state’s existing 10 gaming locations. One major land-based casino is still planned for the city of Chicago.