The new Wind Creek Casino is nearing final approval for the Chicago area
Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians has taken a step towards opening a casino in the Chicago area.
Chicago has gone through a high-stakes process to license its first downtown casino resort, a project that is expected to exceed $ 1 billion. Meanwhile, Poarch Creeks tribal gaming company Wind Creek Hospitality is vying for a license to a smaller but still significant hotel-casino property in the city’s southern suburbs. The latest development is that the Illinois Gaming Board has favored the proposed Wind Creek Illinois project over the other finalist for this southern suburban license.
The decision that Wind Creek Hospitality is “temporarily eligible” doesn’t mean it still has a gaming license, but it does set the stage for further evaluation of the proposal, the Chicago Tribune reported. Wind Creek Illinois is being built in the Homewood and East Hazel Crest areas in a region called Southland.
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Describing its vision as a 70,000 square foot casino with 1,300 slot machines, 56 table games, entertainment, restaurants, and a luxury hotel with 252 rooms, Wind Creek Hospitality says it will bring 800 jobs to the area. The estimated cost of the project is $ 300 million, according to the Tribune.
This would be the first major addition to Wind Creek Hospitality’s gaming properties since 2019, when the company received approval to purchase the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Penn. It also owns Wind Creek casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery, as well as other casinos in the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curacao. It also partnered with the Washoe tribe to run a casino in Nevada.
“I am extremely proud that the Illinois Gaming Board recognizes the value of our Alabama-based Wind Creek Hospitality brand,” said Stephanie A. Bryan, chairman and CEO of the Poarch Band. “We have seen the positive impact of our gambling businesses in our home state, as well as in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Aruba and Curacao in the Caribbean. We know that playing right offers opportunities for economic development and job creation that can improve the quality of life in the communities where we make long-term investments. We are excited and honored to bring our business to Illinois and to be part of the wider Chicago community. “
Wind Creek plans to open the property in 2023.