How casinos broke their promises to the struggling downtowns of Illinois
William Weidner, then president of Hollywood Casino of Aurora Inc., opposed a $2 billion casino in downtown Chicago. He argued that it would hurt the revitalization of the downtowns of Illinois. Weirner and his group prevailed and the Hollywood casino opened in 1993. The casino is now sad and diminished. Its owner wants to close the long-docked riverboat downtown and rebuild it closer to I-88. It's a far cry from its glamour in the 1990s. it's also a sad reminder of how casinos broke their promises to the struggling downtowned of Illinois and their people.
Illinois casinos have broken their promises to downtown Aurora and Joliet. Chicago has already seen a shift within its own new, long-awaited casino. Oak Street Real Estate Capital will commit to provide up to $300 million more in additional funding to develop the casino in Chicago. The gaming industry has evolved since the 1990s and casinos are now selling a combination of convenience and a party atmosphere. They have to persuade gamblers to come to a central facility. Sports betting has exploded and now casinos find themselves subject to the same pressures as office buildings downtown. It's a cautionary tale here.