Exorbitant taxes and licensing fees have killed any notion of a casino in Chicago. With a laundry list of gambling taxes, fees, kickbacks, and payola going to city and state governments, nobody wants to open a casino. Meanwhile, casinos across Illinois are turning a tidy profit.
In order to ensure a windfall of casino profits in the Windy City, the Illinois Gaming Board is now urging lawmakers to change gambling laws to urge casino developers to enter the ring. While most Illinois casinos have been able to proceed unhindered, a bevy of bureaucrats in Chicago has added their own licensing fees on top of the state casino taxes. And no developer wants to gamble with those odds.
According to a feasibility study in August, Chicago casinos won’t get off the ground due to the “onerous tax and fee structure” levied on them. Chicago faces the same tax scheme as the rest of the state, plus an additional 33.3% “privilege tax” in order to operate. The total taxes a Chicago casino would pay totals 72% of their profits. To a casino developer dumping billions into construction, labor, and operation costs, these additional taxes are not merely onerous – they’re highway robbery.
If Chicago wants a casino, the leadership is going to have to overhaul the current tax schemes in favor of modest rates. Otherwise, the idea of a casino in the Windy City will dry up and blow away.
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