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Monday, February 26

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robin.. / December 8, 2004 10:30 AM

i don't consider myself too well informed on the particulars, but i don't think it will do all the things its proponents purport. additionally, isn't bringing a casio into a city with a long history of organized crime just asking for ironic trouble?

Thurston / December 8, 2004 10:38 AM

I think a casino downtown is a bad idea. Contrary to casinos' marketing, gambling attracts way more poor people who can't afford to gamble than so-called high rollers, which will amount to a tax on the poor, much like the lottery has already become. Further, casino gambling is a dirty busines in which the mob is often involved, as we saw in Rosemont recently. I don't think getting the city involved with an enterprise that attracts organized crime is very smart, especially given how prone to corruption Chicago's politicians are.

But here's the real conspiracy (I know, it's a little bugged out): does anyone find it dubious that a casino is becoming all the more likely just as Donald Trump is breaking ground on a huge new building here? I think the casino will end up there and this public debate is just theatre put on by Daley and Blagojevich to mask a decision that has already been made.

Mike / December 8, 2004 10:53 AM

With casinos in other cities like Joliet and Aurora, the money has gone in from locals and then gone out to the corporations in Vegas that own the franchise.
In a case like this, where the city would "own" the place, there are bound to be a lot of sweetheart deals made with the companies that will run the day-to-day operations, but the bulk of the money going in is still going to come from the same people: locals.
The costs of having a casino in a heavily populated area always outweigh the benefits. Now, if the city of Chicago could somehow build a casino out in the middle of Grundy County, it wouldn't do so much damage.

Michael / December 8, 2004 11:01 AM

I can hear The Outfit licking their chops from here.

Ken / December 8, 2004 11:03 AM

I don't know about this whole casino thing. Kinda seems like a gamble to me.

DCE / December 8, 2004 11:41 AM

It's awful. Not because I've any moral qualms about gambling and the supposed "undesirable" element it might bring to the city, but because it's a poor solution to the budget problems it's supposed to solve.

When Illinois instituted the lottery, the proceeds - all of them - were to go to education funding. In practice, education funding in the state remained flat. While lottery money did go to the public schools, an equivalent amount of cash was taken out of the budget and given over to pet projects and the usual graft and corruption.

Will a city owned casino prove more successful? It's doubtful. Especially when one considers the enormous infrastructure and development costs that will have to go into it before the first busload of retired women can sit in front of the slots.

All that aside, a casino is just ugly. It will take Chicago out of the ranks of the world class and put it on a par with second tier cesspools like Atlantic City and Reno.

Nelson Algren described Chicago as a beautiful girl with a broken nose; a casino will only adds insult to this injury.

vit / December 8, 2004 11:50 AM

I'll chime in as another detractor. I think it is a horrible idea. I could care less either way about the morality of gambling, but do we honestly think that this is panacea to our budget problems, and we are deluded enough to think that with our history we can keep organized crime out of this? Hell, we can't even keep it out of City Hall.

Leo / December 8, 2004 12:11 PM

What part of "downtown?" The loop? I find the loop sort of dark and depressing anyway, so a casino would be a fitting addition.

Mike / December 8, 2004 1:35 PM


Specifically Block 37, the area bound by State, Randolph, Dearborn and Washington. Arlington, VA-based The Mills Corp. has finished a mixed-use design for the block. The plan will include 400,000 square feet of office and a 300 room hotel, 400,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and dining units, and a residential tower with 300 condo units. Daley wants to add a casino to the entertainment.

Pete / December 8, 2004 3:09 PM

No. I happen to live in Joliet, and while I appreciate all the street paving and other improvements the casinos have effectively paid for, I know at least two people who have developed gambling addictions and whose lives are being destroyed by having a casino nearby. (And I don't really know that many people in town--I'm sure there are countless others.)

And Harrah's has done virtually nothing to revitalize the rest of downtown Joliet--people drive in, park in the Harrah's garage, gamble, drink, dine, and then get back in their cars and drive home. Leaving nothing behind but a fat cut for the casino and just a thin slice for the city.

Russ / December 8, 2004 3:22 PM

A "City-run" casino sounds like a real hell-hole.

Wendy / December 8, 2004 3:23 PM

I really don't like the precedent having a city-run casino would set. It's apocalyptic.

Gordon / December 8, 2004 3:52 PM

Like state-run lotteries that supposedly help pay for schools, it's just another way for the rich to shift the tax burden onto the poor. And we'll even get to pay to build the goddamn thing, too!

Maggie / December 8, 2004 4:15 PM

And unlike a sporting or convention center, casinos don't bring $$$ into the local community. Most casinos have loyalty cards that reward returning customers with food, drinks, etc. People stay - and spend - on premises when gambling.

I don't think it's the band aid our dear mayor seems to think it is. It's time for the city council to stand up to him and say it.

Craig / December 8, 2004 4:22 PM

The Loop-- as a Chicago neighborhood-- has little character. It virtually empties at night, the transient working population supports a monotonous selection of local businesses (lunch spots, drugstores, etc) and generally lacks any sort of draw outside of it's architectural notables and the State street retail/theatre strip. That said, a casino will not improve the situation. In fact, a casino in Block 37 will mark the end of the Loop having any real relevance to the character of Chicago, cementing it's status as 'the place where the tourists roam outside of Michigan Avenue'.

Kevin / December 8, 2004 4:32 PM

The idea is designed in such a way that it will fuck us harder than we are normally fucked by Daley and The Machine. So this casino will bring jobs and much needed revenue to Chicago?

*deep breath*

Load of shit, as most people who have worked in the Machine will tell you.

DCE is right on. That money will have a quick tea here in Chicago and fly off to some other place (after every piece of shit in the Daley crew gets their cut) never to be seen again. Anyone who's been to Vegas or Atlantic City can attest to the shitholeness that lies just outside of the glimmer and cacophony.

Leo / December 8, 2004 4:51 PM

So it's abundantly clear that people here are against the idea. Here's another question: do you think it'll actually happen? See, I'm a little out of the loop (literally and figuratively) since I'm on temporary exile from Chicago.

Tom / December 8, 2004 4:54 PM

Montreal and Sydney come to mind as two comparable cities which have casinos as prominent parts of their downtown entertainment landscape. I don't know the particulars well enough judge that fact's merits, but it should give pause to people who think a casino in the city will cause people to liken us to Reno or Atlantic City.

People like gambling. Always have, always will. I'm no exception and I'd prefer a casino that's accessible via transit and whose proceeds are directed locally. Oh yeah, and the whole place should be non-smoking as well.

Susan / December 8, 2004 4:55 PM


Kevin / December 8, 2004 4:59 PM

I'm sure Leo, that with all of the resistance to it, the unseemliness, the corruption and just plain stupidity of the idea, that it will happen here in Chicago. Daley & Co. will tickle our privates with the promise of more money in the coffers, a few more lawns on downtown roofs, a few bike trails and all will be forgiven.

vit / December 8, 2004 5:19 PM

Another thing to consider. Take a look at northwest Indiana, little good the casinos have done there.

john / December 8, 2004 9:37 PM

garish, bad clothes, bad shapes, bad habits. casinos are tacky let the exurbs have them.

Mike / December 8, 2004 10:34 PM

Maybe it's an option for a down and out city with nothing else left in its bag of tricks to get people to come to town, but it'll be a step down for Chicago to get a casino. If they plan on being the next Monte Carlo, with James Bond in a tux at the table, they should take a trip and see the clientele on the boats, and note that these people, not the International Men of Mystery, will be your customers. Not the elite with bags of money to blow, but your average poor retiree jamoke who already pays enough voluntary taxes through the lottery. And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Monaco ban its citizens from gambling at its casinos, to prevent the destruction of its citizenry, so that outsiders coming in to gamble are the only suckers, er, clients?

Have the surrounding cities become a tourist mecca due to their gambling boats, or just nodes of strategic hits of busloads of people who are dropped in, gamble, and are ferried out without even as much as walking 50 feet in the host city?

There is only one Las Vegas, the town where people travel to in order to live la dolce vita like they're the second coming of the Brat Pack, in addition to gambling. Every city that tried to be the "next Las Vegas" lost that game. It's like building a big cathedral to be the next Vatican, or a copy of Big Ben to be the next London. Chicago has made huge progress being a better Chicago, not by trying to be a me too of somewhere else.

Joe / December 9, 2004 7:01 AM

Hehe...we gotta feed the monster. Or the monster will eat us.

Let me guess, the money will go to help the schools, right? Just like the lottery money did. With all the gambling going on, we will have nothing to worry about. The schools will be cranking out a generation of "super-geniuses" that will lead us into a utopia.

Casino money, lottery money, selling the Skyway money, raising property assessments 60-70% money, sales tax money, entertainment tax money....

Yet the schools need *more* money, the CTA needs *more* money, the County needs *more* money.....

It is becoming very risky to live in Chicago.

Mike / December 9, 2004 9:35 AM


Don't you understand?! We need fresh pine boughs and willows lining our streets for downtown workers who don't even live here! We need a half-billion dollar park for tourists! Have you even though about all the TIFs and tax breaks for major corporations who don't need the help in the first place? And who's going to pay for all of Daley's neighbor's rent through patronage jobs if we don't?
Schools? CTA? These are not the things that make our city a fun and exciting place to commute to and spend $10 on lunch every day.

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