Dec 08, 2021 12:13 PM
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State gaming regulators on Wednesday selected a casino proposal from Homewood and East Hazel Crest as the winning bid for a south suburban license.
The gaming board’s decision, eliminating Matteson from contention, doesn’t actually at this point award a license but sets the stage for further evaluation of the proposal selected, according to Marcus Fruchter, gaming board administrator.
Homewood and East Hazel Crest are partnering with Wind Creek Hospitality for a 64,000-square-foot casino on a 24-acre site southwest off the interchange of Interstate 80 and Halsted Street.
The $300 million initial phase would include an entertainment center and 21-story hotel, with a rooftop balcony offering views of Chicago’s skyline, according to Wind Creek.
Wind Creek is a subsidiary of PCI Gaming Authority Inc., which manages 10 casinos and other gambling properties on behalf of the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
“Throughout this process, we have reiterated the belief that we offer the best location in and for the south suburban region,” Wind Creek said in a statement following the vote.
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The Homewood/East Hazel Crest would be in a good position to “recoup some of those dollars that have gone across the border” to Indiana casinos, Brendan Bussmann, a partner and director of government affairs for Global Market Advisors, said recently.
Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin said she was obviously disappointed by the outcome.
“Of course we’re disappointed that they (gaming board) didn’t see what we see here in the community,” she said.
Matteson proposed opening a temporary casino in meeting space attached to the nearby Holiday Inn, southeast of Interstate 57 and U.S. 30, within six months, followed in 18 months with a permanent casino, according to project representatives.
Initially four applicants had filed for the license, with the gaming board in October eliminating proposals from Calumet City and Lynwood from contention.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.