Sneed: Chicago hotels could serve as temporary hosts for casinos

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Guests play slot machines at the Riviera Hotel & Casino on April 30 Las Vegas, Nevada. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ka-ching!

Is there a faster way to bring casino cash to Chicago to stave off our looming pension crisis?

Sneed hears at least one plan being discussed would authorize major Chicago hotels to be temporary casino sites via the issuance of temporary casino licenses — until the new city casino is built.

OPINION

“It’s going to take at least three years to get a casino and entertainment complex built in Chicago,” said a Sneed source familiar with how gargantuan the legislative and construction project is going to be.

“Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel needs to stave off a massive property tax hike to shore up the city’s megamillion public safety pension fund crisis — and he needs to do it fast,” the source said.

“Wouldn’t it be a much simpler approach to issue the temporary licenses to qualified mega hotels with exhibition space already in Chicago, hotels which are publicly traded and owned by corporations overseen by the SEC — or have previously been issued gambling licenses in other jurisdictions vetted by the SEC — to prevent organized crime getting a foothold?” the source added.

Hmmm.

Stay tuned.

Pew news . . .

Puck luck: Sneed hears Catholic Archbishop Blase Cupich, who is a huge sports fan, was spotted at the Chicago Blackhawks gameFriday night, high-fiving it with Hawks fans. Nice.

The Schock saga . . .

Where is beleaguered former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock?

A top Sneed source in Peoria claims that Schock, whose staff is being queried about their former boss’ congressional spending habits by a federal grand jury, has been spotted in Peoria and D.C. recently. Schock even tweetedMay 1: “Glad to see one reporter does her homework,” with a link to a tweet from Greta Van Susteren, who writes:

“I saw the report Rep Aaron Schock missing — I called his cellphone and he answered. . . . so not missing :)”

The Fiorina file . . .

Did you know Carly Fiorina, theformer Hewlett-Packard executiveand only female Republican candidate for president thus far, started out with the last name Sneed and began her career as a secretary for a small real estate firm? Now you do.

Pssst!

Sneed is told Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the mayoral candidate who gave Rahm Emanuel a run for his money, is thinking about running for elected office in 2016.

• The big question: He may still have momentum, but which office?

Draft data . . .

The NFL Draft has wrapped up and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Mayor Emanuelon Mondayitfar exceeded anyone’s expectations.

• The stats: City Hall sources claim last weekend’s draft events, hosted in Chicago for the first time in more than 50 years, were attended by 200,000 people — double the NFL’s original estimates; police issued no tickets at the event, and the NFL is leaving some of the tents and exhibits from Draft Town in Chicago.

Tourist talk . . .

Is the city’s tourist industry booming?

Well, it’s Rahm’s pet project and Sneed hears Desiree Rogers, the former White House social secretary who serves as chairman of the board of Choose Chicago, may be in for a promotion soon.

Mayoral sources claim that more than 828,000 hotel room nights were booked in the city in March — bringing the first quarter total to 2 million rooms occupied. And a Microsoft event going on at McCormick Place this week has over 22,000 attendees, resulting in the largest catered event at McCormick Place. By the end of the week, the group is expected to eat over 350,000 catered meals. Gulp!

Sneedlings . . .

Kudos to former State Rep./McPier chief Jim Reilly, who was recently appointed chairman of the Illinois Capital Development Board. Reilly, who has decades of experience in the public sector and a resume going back to Gov. Jim Thompson’s administration, should write a book on survival in the world of cutthroat politics! Wednesday’s birthdays: George Clooney, 54; Bob Seger, 70, and Willie Mays, 84.

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