September 8, 2022

Mayor Lightfoot Creates Community Advisory Council to Ensure Neighborhood Input on Chicago Casino

The nineteen-member council will engage with Bally’s and the City regarding community concerns for the Chicago casino

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, with the support of Alderman Burnett (27th) and casino operator Bally’s, today announced the formation of a Casino Community Advisory Council (CAC) that will serve as a channel for community input as the City moves forward with the first Chicago casino. The proposed Casino CAC includes residents, and community groups from surrounding neighborhoods, as well as experts on a range of relevant topics listed. Management and oversight of the CAC will be jointly shared by the Department of Planning and Development, the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement, the Department of Transportation, and the CFO’s office. 

"Since beginning the process to secure a Chicago Casino, my administration has remained dedicated to ensuring our residents have every opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about it," said Mayor Lightfoot. "This Community Advisory Council will create a tangible space for this important engagement and allow community stakeholders of all kinds to have a meaningful impact before, during, and after the casino's construction."  

The purpose of the Casino CAC is to create a forum for ongoing community engagement throughout the development of the Bally’s Casino. The primary focus of this Casino CAC is to secure community input on the development of the entire permanent site; however, the Casino CAC will also consider issues related to the operation of the temporary site as they are applicable to the future permanent casino project. The Casino CAC will remain intact until the opening of the casino. 

“From the beginning, Bally’s has made it a priority to listen and respond to community feedback,” said Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim. “We are committed to being good neighbors and corporate citizens, and we look forward to working with all members of the Chicago Casino Advisory Council.” 

The Bally’s Casino is a nearly $1.7 billion entertainment destination anchored by gaming that will be a catalyst for the City’s recovery and will bring investment and tourism to the City in its post-pandemic future. The temporary casino is set to open its doors in quarter two of 2023 and the permanent site will open in quarter one of 2026.  

“The Community Advisory Council is going to ensure that the casino is developed with the utmost quality and addresses every concern raised by community members,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th Ward. “The CAC will play a vital role in the casino’s success, and I applaud Mayor Lightfoot and the rest of her team for pulling together an incredible team.” 

The group will meet quarterly to discuss the project and address issues raised by community members including issues relating to arts and entertainment, economic development and planning, social impacts of gambling, housing and community development, infrastructure and transportation, local industry, equity participation, open space and environment, business and finance, public safety, public transit, organized labor, workforce development, and job creation. Membership of the Casino CAC is subject to change throughout the engagement process to address additional concerns of the community.  

Members of the Chicago Casino Advisory Committee: 

Neighborhood Representatives 

  • Maurice Edwards, President, Cabrini-Green LAC Community Corporation  
  • Robin Schabes, Resident and Volunteer Chair of the River North Residents Association Development & Land Use Committee  
  • Julie Darling, Board Member of the West Loop Community Organization  
  • John Bosca, President Emeritus at Neighbors of River West  

Issue Experts 

  • Edward Warm, Chicago Independent Venue League  
  • Victoria Lakes-Battle, Executive Director – Chicago Metro Region at IFF  
  • Jose Bedolla, Board Member, West Central Association  
  • Eunice Liao, Mental Health Counselor and Gambling Program Lead at Pui Tak Center  
  • Julianna Castro, Financial Assistant, American Indian Health Service of Chicago  
  • Darlene Oliver Hightower, President and CEO at Metropolitan Planning Council  
  • Nilay Mistry, Interim Program Director, Illinois Institute of Technology, MLA+U Program
  • Jonathan Snyder, Executive Director at North Branch Works  
  • Nadia Quarles, Assistant Vice President for Business Diversity at the University of Chicago  
  • Phillip Nicodemus, Director of Research at Urban Rivers  
  • Marty Padilla, President at Greater River North Business Association 
  • Michele Dreczynski, Program Manager/Consultant at Near North Unity Program  
  • David Powe, Director of Planning and Technical Assistance at the Active Transportation Alliance  
  • Andrea Kluger, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Chicago Federation of Labor  
  • Chynna Hampton, Equity Director, Climate Jobs IL, IL AFL CIO