The state of Illinois is doing damage control in the public relations field after a list of released bid values for the 10th and final casino license the state is going to be handing out showed a marked decline from when the license was last offered. People that have been following news in the casino industry will remember that this license was on the market about four years ago, but that it was cancelled at that point because the state felt that the bids were not high enough to warrant parting with the final license they were willing to give out. That was the official reason given, but problems logistically were rumored to have contributed to matters as well. The final reason were never really known however and for that reason it was never really that big a news story and it died fairly quickly after being brought to the public’s attention.
Fast forward to 2008 and the 10th casino license is once again being bid on by companies that would like to create a casino within the state borders of Illinois. However, two things are different from the current point in time and the point in time four years ago when the license was first put onto the market. First and foremost is of course the obvious economic woes that are around now that were not around in 2004. These economic woes have made many people cautious about expanding their business during this period of time lest the credit crunch come back to bite them in the face. In addition to that lack of interest in expansion however is a lower amount of interest in doing business in Illinois. The state has passed a no smoking law indoors since the first time the bid was on the market four years ago and since casinos and smoking tend to go hand-in-hand in most places, a no smoking law that would affect this new casino is something that would almost certainly drive down business in favor of nearby states that allow smoking inside casino walls.
The end result is that the state of Illinois put the bid on the market four years ago and got a top bit of $518 million for it. They then sat on their hands for four years, only to put the bid back on the market and receive a top bid of $435 million for it. Now, depending on who you talk to, this is either a good thing or a bad thing. The state will claim that it is a good thing and that money is not the only factor involved in choosing a company while many of the economic analysts that criticized the foot-dragging of four years ago will wear a smug expression on their faces while they use the famous “I told you so” line. Whomever you choose to believe, one thing is certain. It appears as though the state means business this time and would like to have the license awarded to a company before the end of the year. Since money is not the only factor according to the state, it is worthwhile to point out that the lowest active bid at the moment is worth $60 million.