Only two bidders are left in the race for the lone Chicago casino license earmarked for the South Suburbs as the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has rejected the other two proposals. Following the rejection of casino pitches targeting Calumet City and Lynwood by the IGB, Homewood and Matteson remained the only two finalist towns in the bidding process for the South Suburbs casino license.
The dismissals of Calumet City and Lynwood came around a week after the state’s gaming board heard their presentations. According to a statement released by IGB Chair Charles Schmadeke, the decision of rejecting the two towns was quite difficult. However, the head of the state gaming agency added that he felt the Homewood and Matteson developments would be more suitable for the South Suburbs. Finally, members of the IGB voted unanimously 4-0 to move forward with the two bids—the bids Homewood and Matteson.
Timothy Hughes, manager for Calumet City’s rejected casino project, said, “We are disappointed that our proposal — which would open a temporary casino in 90 days to immediately begin revitalizing the economic engine of Calumet City and had extensive community support, plus a strong operator with a proven track record — was deemed insufficient to proceed to the next round.”
The plan to develop and operate a casino in Homewood comes from Wind Creek Hospitality, which is the gaming division of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama. It has partnered with a local developer to build a $300 million casino close to 175th Street off of Interstate 80 (I-80) in Homewood, if its bid is selected by the state regulator. The proposed casino resort would be equipped with 1,350 slot machines and nearly six dozen table games, in addition to a 252-room hotel and a large entertainment venue.
Over the past few years, Wind Creek Hospitality has emerged as a major player in the American gaming space. The tribal gaming operator own and operates three casinos in Alabama in addition to some gaming venues in Aruba and Curacao. In 2019, it acquired Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania for $1.3 billion.
For the Matteson, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has partnered with local businessman Rob Miller. Proposed to be built at a cost of around $300 million, the gaming property would likely feature as many as 1,300 slot machines and 42 table games along with other entertainment facilities.