Syverson: Chicago Casino Tax Proposal Could Have Shortchanged Illinois Capital Plan

Nov 25, 2019

Credit flickr user Ian Murphy "Solar Casino Night (3)" (CC BY 2.0)

A state lawmaker says a proposed change to the formula for a Chicago casino would have shortchanged the rest of Illinois.

An effort to change the tax structure for Chicago’s future casino failed to gain steam in the Illinois General Assembly last week.  State Senator Dave Syverson opposed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's attempts to give Chicago an edge. Lightfoot argued the tax structure changes are needed in order to attract investors and make enough profit.

Syverson said, “The problem with that is that means the state would be getting about $150 million a year less in revenue from Chicago.  That’s about 15% of the entire capital plan.”  

Rockford is in Syverson’s district and is the potential future home of a Hard Rock Casino. He says the Chicago proposal would have been unequal to other casino cities and would hamper Capital Plan projects across the state. He said, “Chicago’s casino is going to be the most successful and the biggest, and it’s going to generate the most revenue. The idea of giving them a much better deal than Rockford gets, it just isn’t fair, one, and then second, it’s going to hurt the state’s revenue.” 

Although the proposal did not move ahead, Syverson worries lawmakers will bring it to the General Assembly again in January.