Chinatown residents protest against proposed site for massive Chicago casino
CHICAGO - Protesters gathered in Chicago's Chinatown on Sunday in hopes that plans for a massive casino will come up snake eyes.
"Having a casino would damage the community, the nearby neighborhoods badly. Such as increase the traffic, more crime that we already have. And gambling addiction," said Dr. Kim Tee, a resident of Chinatown.
In March, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced three finalists bidding to build and operate a Chicago casino. Hard Rock proposes a $1.7 billion casino near Soldier Field. Bally's Corporation proposes a $1.8 billion on the current Chicago Tribune publishing site near the north branch of the Chicago River. River's Casino is pitching a $2 billion just north of Chinatown.
The mayor said a winner will be picked no later than June. She said that revenues will relieve burdens on taxpayers and will help shore up the police and fire pension funds.
But the head of a Chinatown health organization says polling shows most residents don't want a huge casino near their neighborhood.
"Most of the people, they feel concerned," said Dr. Hong Liu of the Midwest Asian Health Association. "They don't feel comfortable to have a casino near Chinatown which may damage the community's safety and increase the addiction problem."
The proposed casino sites are also not being supported by the aldermen in each of those three wards.
On Monday, the city council's special casino committee will hold a virtual hearing on the proposals and will take public comment.