Second Chicago South Suburbs Casino Proposed, $380M Resort Targets Cook County Border Town

Posted on: October 9, 2019, 10:15h. 

Last updated on: October 9, 2019, 10:27h.

Six townships in Chicago’s Cook County are able to bid to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) for a casino license, and the competition is heating up after a second resort was proposed.

Chicago casino Illinois gaming expansion
The sleepy village of Lynwood is where a tribe wants to build a casino in the southern suburbs of Chicago. (Image: Yokohama Cosmo World)

The latest comes from the Ho-Chunk Nation, a Wisconsin tribe that operates six casinos in the Badger State. It wants to take its show on the road and out of the state to neighboring Illinois by way of Cook County’s Lynwood – a small village town on the state border with Indiana.

Ho-Chunk Gaming has suggested building a $380 million casino near the Southland Center sports complex, which the Wisconsin tribe already owns and operates. The resort would feature a 20-story hotel, restaurants and bars, and retail space.

The Ho-Chunk plan comes just days after local officials in Homewood approved a $275 million casino from Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming unit of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama. If the project receives the blessing of East Hazel (the casino would sit in both towns), it will head to the IGB for consideration.

Location Matters

Illinois’ gaming expansion legislation signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in July is an effort to help fuel the state economy and fund the $45 billion “Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan.”

A major downtown Chicago integrated resort was approved under the package, as were smaller regional casinos in the cities of Danville, Waukegan, and Rockford. A casino was additionally earmarked for Williamson County, and another in one of six Cook County townships: Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton, or Worth.

The Chicago casino will be afforded 4,000 gaming positions (aka seats at a slot machine or table game). The others will be permitted 2,000 positions, the exception being the Williamson casino (1,200).

Ho-Chunk says putting the casino in Lynwood, which butts up against the Illinois-Indiana border, is the best spot for the Cook gaming venue.

Lynwood Mayor Eugene Williams (D), who supports the Ho-Chunk concept, added, “We’re almost as far south and east as you can go and still be in Cook County. It’s a perfect position to get those dollars that have been driving to Indiana.”

The two tribal Cook County proposals are roughly just four miles from one another. The host town that wins the casino will receive two percent of the generated gross gaming revenue. Dozens of other townships in the south suburbs of Cook will split an additional three percent.

Casino Progress

The IGB has issued an October 28 submission deadline for the five new regional casinos.

Danville: Earlier this month, the Danville City Council unanimously approved a casino resort just north of I-74. The proposal comes from a company called Haven Gaming, an entity led by former casino execs and ex-Illinois state representative Lou Lang.

Waukegan: The city has four casino proposals for Fountain Square. The bids come from entities called American Place, North Point Casino, Potawatomi Casino, and Rivers.

Rockford: Mayor Tom McNamara has backed a development from Hard Rock International at I-90. The town has two other casino bids.

Williamson County: No bids presently made public.

Cook County: Two proposals from two tribal gaming operators.