Chicago aldermen come out against Wrigley Field sportsbook

Chicago aldermen are pushing to shut down a plan that would allow sports betting at Wrigley Field.

The Chicago City Council says it is concerned that sportsbooks would cut into tax money meant for a new city-run casino.

However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says her plan for an added two-percent city tax would fix that problem.

Now, aldermen are asking Lightfoot for proof that the two types of gambling can co-exist, without hurting casino tax bottom line.

Last month, City Hall disclosed long-awaited details of five bids to build and operate a Las Vegas-style casino in Chicago.

In contrast to previous talk about locating a Chicago casino in an outlying neighborhood where relatively few jobs are now, all five of the bids revealed would locate a casino in or around downtown.

While Hard Rock proposes to build west of Lake Shore Drive, directly across from Soldier Field, two other veteran casino operators offered City Hall two potential locations each.

Bally's Corporation offered a casino either at the current site of the Chicago Tribune printing plant on the north branch of the Chicago River, or a site at the south end of the McCormick Place convention center complex.


Rivers, which now operates Illinois’ most lucrative casino near O’Hare Airport, proposed to put a new casino either at the site of McCormick Place's Lakeside Center or south of the Loop in a now-vacant former rail yard that's been dubbed the "78." At a total cost of $2 billion, that's the most expensive proposal. The others range between $1.3 billion and $1.8 billion.

Each promises thousands of construction jobs and permanent jobs, either at the casino or allied properties including new entertainment venues and hotels.

Aides to Mayor Lightfoot said she welcomes public comment on the casino proposals. A public hearing has been scheduled for mid-December.