Chicago casino at Block 37?

June 2, 2011

(WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)
A Chicago casino in the struggling Block 37 shopping center would certainly boost activity.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is being coy about whether he'll sign a bill that would allow a casino in Chicago. And people downtown today seemed split about the plan as well.

Chris Miller lives on the North Side and works here at Block 37, the downtown location being mentioned as one possible site for a Chicago casino. Miller said he would love having a casino here - smack in the theatre district. He exuded, "I would like to think it would turn this area into a mini Vegas. Where you get the very weird very Disney family friendly vanilla with gambling, yay!"

But Steven Kwan, who is from Las Vegas says a casino could bump up the area's crime rates. Kwan said, "I guess I would be concerned as to what kind of crowd it would attract. If there was a lot of casinos and a lot of security for that reason, we might have the right structure."

According to a 2004 University of Illinois study, casinos really do cause an uptick in crime. The study shows that assault, rape and robbery all go up.  

Governor Quinn says he hasn't even started reviewing the casino legislation.