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Local News

Homewood casino decision still months away

A decision on the joint casino application for Homewood and East Hazel Crest may not come until the fall.

The Illinois Gaming Board has a year from the Oct. 28, 2019, application deadline to make a decision on casino license applications. After that, the board can issue a written explanation to each applicant explaining why a decision hasn’t been made and when it can reasonably expect a determination. 

“The IGB does not comment on the status of pending applications, other than to say that it is processing, vetting and investigating the new casino applicant submissions,” gaming board spokesman Gene O’Shea said. 

From left, H-F High School students Luci Mahorney, Jackie Urbaniak, Noah Clausing and Erik Dedo interview Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld for a news story about a casino the village and East Hazel Crest proposed jointly hosting on land near I-294 and Halsted Street. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

One license will be awarded to a south suburban casino. There are four applications on the Illinois Gaming Board’s disclosure of records available online. The other three are from  Calumet City, Lynwood and Matteson.

The proposed Southland Live Casino would be located on a 20-acre site near Macy’s department store at River Oaks Center at 159th Street and Torrence Avenue in Calumet City.

Southland Live would be a $275 million casino and would initially include 1,200 slot machines, 35 table games, a sportsbook, a music venue, restaurants and lounges, according to its application. A 200-room, 18-floor hotel would be constructed in year three. 

Lynwood proposes a Ho-Chunk Nation property near the Southland Center sports complex at 10 Southland Drive. Its application projects over $200 million annual revenue by its fourth year in operation.

The Matteson casino would be located at the site of the closed Lincoln Mall site at Cicero Avenue and Lincoln Highway. It would include a 200-room hotel, an upscale restaurant, food hall and a 33,300 square-foot events center. 

The Homewood and East Hazel Crest application boasts of 69,190 square feet of gaming space and a 252-room hotel with three restaurants, two bars, a lounge and a 10,800 square foot entertainment center.

Each applicant has met all of the criteria for licensing, including determining a location for the proposed casino and agreed to zoning and revenue sharing with local governments.

Revenues to be divided up between Homewood and East Hazel Crest were projected to be around $3 million per year, Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld said last fall.

License approval is determined at IGB meetings.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 12. The last meeting before the October deadline is set for Sept. 17. Gaming board meetings are usually held on the 5th floor of the Bilandic Building at 160 N. LaSalle Street in Chicago. 

Once a license is granted, a temporary facility can be operational for two years. The board can extend that period for up to a year if an owner shows “good cause.” 

“The IGB does not comment on potential timelines, hypothetical operational scenarios, or potential future board actions,” O’Shea said.

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