I think I'm just about ready to give up on GenCon. It has outgrown Indianapolis, so there's no point in going until they move it to Chicago, which is the only midwestern city large enough to accommodate it. How long do you think it'll take for the people running it to realize that?
It's not going to happen in Chicago with McCormick Place being the only major convention center and the insane labor fees and requirements to set up there, in addition to the exorbitant rates that the downtown hotels charge *currently*.
Chicago's 'too big' for Gen Con, unfortunately, and not laid out well enough. Indy, at least to it's credit, is trying to expand hotel space, though that takes time...
It will never move to Chicago. As you said, costs are crazy. I've worked a lot of trade shows there, and the labor rules and costs have driven quite a few conventions from McCormick Place.
Also, there is exactly 1 real hotel within like a mile of the place. The conventions that have large numbers of out-of-town attendees have to hire fleets of greyhound sized shuttle busses to get to the downtown hotels.
The other Chicagoland option would be Rosemont, but that's not any larger than Indy.