Suburban executives react after Homewood/East Hazel Crest casino bid allowed to go ahead – NBC Chicago

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A joint bid to build a casino in the southern suburb was approved on Wednesday, while another suburb had its hopes of building a new casino dashed by the state gaming commission.

For more than five years, several proposals to build a casino south of the city of Chicago have been uncertain, and on Wednesday the Illinois Gaming Board announced that a joint bid by the villages of Homewood and East Hazel Crest, together with Wind Creek Hospitality, was the winner and will be allowed to proceed.

The ambitious plan will require a casino, hotel and entertainment center, and will be located near Interstate 80 on Halsted Street.

“I understand how important revenue is to the state, so I’ve always felt that if our best effort was to keep Illinois residents from going to Indiana, that was the best place,” said state representative Will David.

Jay Dorris, who represented Wind Creek in Wednesday’s vote, said the communities involved in the project aim to accomplish something that will benefit all surrounding areas for years to come.

“Our site is in both villages, and the mayors of those villages have been great to work with,” he said. “They were adamant this will benefit the entire south.”

Final licensing approval is still required on the site, but Wednesday’s announcement marked a major step forward for the project.

In nearby Matteson, feelings of disappointment were in the air as their proposal was not approved to move forward.

“(It would have been) the very first game project in Illinois history that would have been 100% minority, female, and veteran owned,” said developer Rob Miller.

Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmbers-Currin said they were disappointed with the results of the vote.

“We all know why we’re doing this, in reference to diversity and economic growth,” she said. “The impact would have been huge.”

Davis says the project will benefit many communities in the southern suburbs, and diversity was also an important part of their presentation.

“If it’s diversity, meaning the communities (involved), Homewood and East Hazel Crest are also diverse communities,” he said.

Several other casino projects were also advanced this week, as Las Vegas-based Full House Resorts was selected to operate a long-planned casino in suburban Waukegan.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker attended the groundbreaking for another casino project in southern Illinois as construction began at Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino in Carterville.

The facility will include a 116-room hotel, complete with a game room, event center and multiple restaurants, according to the governor’s office.

“Walker’s Bluff was already a popular attraction, attracting tourists and business meetings from across the region,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Now, with the addition of hundreds of slot machines and table games, and an on-site hotel, this expansion will attract even more visitors to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Southern Illinois. .”

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