Chicago Suburb Casino Plan Approved in Homewood Village, $275M Project Proposed From Alabama Tribe

Posted on: October 8, 2019, 08:49h. 

Last updated on: October 8, 2019, 09:57h.

A $275 million Chicago suburb casino pitch from Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming unit of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, has been approved by the village of Homewood, Illinois.

Chicago suburb casino Homewood East Hazel
This proposed Chicago suburb casino in Homewood and East Hazel is moving forward. (Image: Jack Thomas/Getty)

On Monday night, the Homewood’s village board approved a 64,000-square-foot casino, accompanied by three restaurants, two bars, and an entertainment venue. A second phase, which would be completed four years after the gaming and concert space opens, would bring a 251-room hotel with an indoor pool and spa to the complex.

The 24-acre proposed location for the resort sits southwest of the I-80 and Halsted Street interchange.

We think the site is a great location,” Wind Creek Chief Operating Officer Brent Pinkston said. “That location can drive the best tax revenue, which will benefit all south suburbs.”

Five small regional casinos in the Chicago suburbs were authorized under the state’s gaming expansion package, signed in July by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). The package consisting of four pieces of legislation additionally approving a larger integrated casino resort for downtown Chicago.

Path to Licensure

Receiving approval from the Homewood officials is only the first step in bringing Wind Creek’s Chicago suburb casino to realization. Because the property in question is divided across Homewood and East Hazel, the casino operator also needs approval there.

East Hazel will consider the project tomorrow evening, but is expected to sign off on the bid. If they do, Wind Creek would then be able to submit the plans to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) before the October 28 deadline.

Wind Creek operates casinos in Alabama, Florida, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The tribal gaming entity also has properties in Curacao and Aruba.

In March of 2018, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians made its largest investment ever when it paid Las Vegas Sands $1.3 billion to acquire the Bethlehem casino in Eastern Pennsylvania. The tribe is committed to spending $190 million to renovate and expand the resort.

Community Benefits

Pritzker and Illinois lawmakers passed the gaming expansion package to partly fund the state’s $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.” The goal is to provide an influx of jobs and new tax money that can help build infrastructure throughout the Chicago metropolis and beyond.

It’s good for new jobs, new taxes,” former IGB General Counsel Donna More told “It’s good for communities.”

She added: “When I was at the gaming board in the 1990s, I would go up to the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. There wasn’t a whole lot there originally. But soon after the casino opened, condos and businesses began popping up.”

The Poarch Band Native Americans have long been known for assisting the communities where they operate – not only in terms of tax revenue, but also in times of need.

Earlier this year, the tribe covered funeral expenses for all 23 victims of an Alabama tornado at a cost of $184,000. In January, the Poarch Band offered a local church $25,000 that was damaged by another tornado, but the funds were given to general relief efforts after churchgoers voted to decline the charitable act on moral reasons.