Bally’s Gets the Official Nod for Chicago Casino & Sportsbook

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has turned to Bally’s Corporation for the planned casino resort project in the city. This may not have been the most popular choice among all city officials. Yet, company’s casino plan at the Tribune Publishing Plant was deemed the winner.

The process to bring a casino resort to Chicago took a major step forward with the recent announcement. However, the plan still needs the official approval from City Council and state gaming regulators to keep moving ahead.

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Bally’s Winning Formula

The casino proposal submitted by Bally’s obviously crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s for Mayor Lightfoot. The starting point was the Chicago Tribune Publishing Plant as the chosen location. This property offers plenty of space to build a full-scale casino resort.

The planned hotel will offer 500 guest rooms and suites. Dining options will include six different restaurants. There will be an outdoor park and music venue, three separate bar areas and an entertainment facility with a 3,000-seat theater.

The casino floor itself will be big enough to house as many as 3,400 slot machines. Also part of the plan is space for 170 table games. As a means to further entice Mayor Lightfoot and City Council, annual revenue to Chicago could top $200 million.

The total cost of this project has been estimated to be $1.7 billion. It will create more than 3,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 permanent jobs as part of the actual casino resort.

Bally’s Timeline

One of the main reasons Bally’s project topped all others was guaranteed upfront payments. As part of a Host Community Agreement, the company will make an upfront payment of $40 million. Bally’s annual fee to the city for the casino would be $4 million.

Another attractive aspect of Bally’s plan was the lack of a competing casino nearby. The two casino operators involved in the bidding process have existing land-bases casinos in the area.

To further sweeten the deal, Bally’s management has agreed to hire organized labor throughout the operation. The company will also take an active role in working with the local community concerning the building process.

Local residents near the proposed casino site have been very vocal against the plan since the start. Certain City Council members thought that they would have a bigger role in the decision making process.

If the plan receives the majority support from City Council, the Illinois Gaming Board also needs to sign off on Bally’s casino proposal. Assuming everything does go according plan, company officials estimate that the entire project will be complete by the end of 2025 or early 2026.

These is a provision for a temporary casino that could open as early as spring of next year. The proposed location for this gaming venue is at Medinah Temple because of easy access to mass transit.

There is still quite a bit at stake for all parties involved. This will be the only approved casino gaming license in Chicago city limits. The other two finalists in the vetting process were Hard Rock International and Rush Street Gaming as a local entity.

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