As part of his bid to become the next mayor of Chicago, candidate Garry McCarthy has reportedly suggested that the city could help to ease its current financial problems by opening a casino inside O’Hare International Airport.
According to a Monday report from the Chicago Tribune newspaper, McCarthy had a 54-month term as Superintendent for the Chicago Police Department until his dismissal by current Mayor Rahm Emanuel in late-2015. The 58-year-old is now hoping to replace his former boss via elections that are due to take place in February of 2019 and purportedly believes that a casino inside the giant airport could bring in much needed municipal revenues to help ease the city’s estimated $20.2 billion debt.
“How many people come through O’Hare [International Airport] and have layovers and have to sit around for hours and hours and hours,” McCarthy reportedly told Craig Dellimore from local radio broadcaster WBBM. “If they’re sitting at a blackjack table, there’s going to be revenue generated.”
New York-born McCarthy reportedly also suggested that a casino inside O’Hare International Airport would not cause the societal problems often associated with gambling because of the increased security already present at the Cook County facility, which handled almost 80 million passengers last year. The candidate purportedly declared that gambling could be offered to ‘travelers coming through’ and that this would not ‘affect the community’ as all players would be required to go through the usual Transportation Security Administration screenings.
“That’s going to eliminate the issue of the downside of not being able to control what happens, you know, whether it’s organized crime, prostitution, narcotics or whatever it is and, at the same time, that’s going to generate revenue,” McCarthy reportedly told Dellimore.
The Chicago Tribune reported that McCarthy moreover believes that a casino inside O’Hare International Airport would serve to complement Emanuel’s planned eight-year and $8.5 billion expansion of the nation’s third busiest air transportation hub, a large portion of which was approved last week.
However, the Chicago Tribune reported that a casino located closer to the center of Illinois’ most populous city has long been an unfulfilled dream of numerous Chicago mayors including Emanuel. Each one has purportedly faced heavy opposition from state legislators and the owners of existing gambling facilities due to fears that a Chicago-area casino would cannibalize players and existing revenues.