Cook County casino license race gets a sixth candidate community

The small city of Country Club Hills in Illinois has reportedly become the sixth runner in the race to secure the sole license to build and operate a casino for the southern suburbs of Chicago.

According to a Tuesday report from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, the small Cook County community has announced that it is partnering 7BALL with New York-headquartered Spreads Group in hopes of being given permission to bring a large casino to a 200-acre parcel of land along Interstate 80.

Initial reluctance:

The newspaper cited the mayor for Country Club Hills, James Ford, as declaring that his community had not originally planned to enter the race for the Cook County casino license due to its close proximity to the village of Tinley Park. But, he purportedly stated that his administration was forced to reconsider its stance after Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker revealed that he would not be selling state land to this neighboring village for the purposes of building a planned racino.

Rapid resolution:

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Pritzker’s decision came after the name of one of the ps involved in the Tinley Park racino plan, local video games magnate Rick Heidner, appeared in federal warrants issued as part of a widening corruption probe. Ford proclaimed that this move had ‘blindsided’ local developers and set in motion of a chain of events that saw Country Club Hills eventually decide to take part in the contest for the Cook County casino license.

Ford told the newspaper…

“When the racino got pulled off the table, we decided to go for the casino. We weren’t going to go for it if the racino was going to happen in Tinley Park with us being next door.”

Legislative largess:

Illinois is already home to ten casinos but legislation signed into law by Pritzker in June is due to see this complement grow by as many as six via the licensing of gambling venues for the cities of Chicago, Waukegan, Danville and Rockford as well as for locations in the more rural jurisdictions of Williamson County and Cook County.

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The race for this latter license is set to be particularly competitive with the communities of Lynwood, Calumet City and Matteson having already launched similar separate plans of their own while the villages of East Hazel Crest and Homewood are hoping to partner with Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians in order to open a $275 million casino of their own.

Matteson encouragement:

In related news and local television broadcaster WMAQ-TV reported on Monday that civic leaders for the village of Matteson have approved the plan that would see this community partner with the Choctaw Nation in hopes of securing permission to construct and operate a casino with some 2,000 gaming positions alongside a 36,000 sq ft convention center and a 200-room hotel.

The broadcaster reported that all proposals for the Cook County casino license must have been submitted to the Illinois Gaming Board before the end of the month while the eventual host community is set to receive 2% of the finished facility’s adjusted annual gross revenues.