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State officials narrow suburban Chicago casino bids to 2

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CHICAGO — A new casino in Chicago's south suburbs is one step closer.

State regulators have narrowed the number of proposals down to two, with one near the border of Homewood and East Hazel Crest and another in Matteson, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The backers are due to make a presentation to the Illinois Gaming Board in the coming days. The final selection for the casino license will happen next year.

The casino is part of a major gambling expansion that Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed in 2019 and will add six casinos to the state's current 10. Casinos proposals in Rockford and Williamson County have received initial approval. There'll also be one in Danville. Chicago is seeking proposals for a massive casino and pushed back the deadline for proposals to Oct. 29.

The Matteson bid is led by Hinsdale businessman Rob Miller and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a Native American tribe which runs nearly two dozen casinos. They're proposing a $300 million venue which would include a 123,000-square foot casino and a 200-room hotel.

"We are pleased and extremely excited," Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmers-Currin. "I think the Gaming Board saw the commitment to diversity and the community in this project."

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The proposal for the Homewood area is led by Alabama-based Wind Creek Hospitality, which is part of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, which runs several casinos nationwide. They're pitching a $300 million, 64,000-square-foot casino with a 21-story hotel.

"This development promises to be the best in and for the entire Southland region — with job creation, economic and community investment, sustained operational excellence, and a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in all phases of construction and operation," Wind Creek CEO Jay Dorris said in an email.

Separately, the state regulators are looking at two finalists for a new casino license in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan.

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