Mayor Lightfoot plans for pension boost from Chicago casino

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to assure that a huge new casino just authorized for Chicago makes a lot of money for both its future private owners and for local taxpayers.

“The first step is to get a feasibility study up and going to make sure that the economic model -- meaning the taxation structure that the general assembly has proposed -- is actually going to be viable, meaning that we can have a product that we can market and get financed,” Lightfoot said.

It is a serious concern. Some fear the gambling market was already saturated, meaning the explosive growth of virtually every form of betting that the Illinois General Assembly authorized over the weekend will result in some eventually going out of business.

Illinois currently has ten casinos, and there are several in northwest Indiana. They are already vulnerable and now certain to face lots of new competition. 

The mayor also says the slot machines coming to Midway and O’Hare airports will not be as ubiquitous as in Nevada.

“We’re not going to turn O’Hare or any place else into a gambling den, neither at Midway. If you look through the particulars of the bill, what you're going to find is that we have a significant amount of local control. So, we haven't set the parameters yet. But there's going to be a very high hurdle reached before we see any gaming at our airports,” Lightfoot said.

Mayor Lightfoot would not speculate about a location for the new Chicago casino, and six local venues are eligible to conduct betting on professional sporting events: Wrigley Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field, United Center, the Chicago Fire's Seatgeek Stadium and the Joliet Speedway.