A sprawling new casino has just been approved by City Council. As it also cleared a key vote by another board last Monday. Plans are not yet set to move ahead on the project, as the Illinois Gaming Board still needs to vote for final approval.
The City Council vote occurred earlier today and is a positive sign for the overarching casino project. Reportedly, there was a screaming match between Mayor Lightfoot and Ald. Sigcho-Lopez. The city’s special casino committee has already approved plans for a 1.74 billion casino and resort at the Tribune Publishing site, with a 27-3 vote taking place last Monday. Now, it all hinges on final approval from the IL Gaming Board.
The first-ever casino in Chicago, if approved by the gaming board, will be by Bally’s Corporation in a prime River West location. Lori Lightfoot announced her choice after two competitor casinos put in a bid for a casino license.
Located at N. Halsted St. and W. Chicago Ave., the project is set to build on a portion of the current industrial Tribune Publishing Center at Tribune Publishing Plant in the River West neighborhood. The casino will be more than a place to test your luck, with plans also include a packed layout filled with restaurants, a park, sports bars, an exhibition hall, and various other attractions.
Here’s what we know about the project:
It will be a massive $1.7 billion undertaking. The casino will include 170 table games, and 3,400 slots. There will be a 3,000-seat theater on the property, along with a 500-room hotel, and a 2-acre park situated along the river. Other plans include a Riverwalk extension and a brand new pedestrian bridge, along with a large outdoor music venue, and a series of incredible new restaurants. While Chicago is already a happening city filled with endless adventure, this new undertaking promises to help the economy, by creating 3,000 construction jobs per year and 3,000 permanent casino jobs, according to the Mayor’s Office. Bally’s has also committed to 60% minority hiring for the thousands of jobs it will bring to the city.
As construction can take a while, Bally’s has pledged to open a temporary casino in Spring 2023 with promises to finish a permanent one by late 2025 or early 2026. The temporary location will be at the Medinah Temple, at 600 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
Another side of this project is that it will supposedly provide millions that officials say they need to fulfill pension obligations and prevent tax increases. While certain city officials have opposed this new casino, it is without a doubt something that will change our city.
Ald. Walter Burnett (of the 27th), whose ward the casino would be in, has said he supports Bally’s coming to the Tribune Publishing site, while people residing in and around the area have spoken out to oppose the casino. Ald Brendan Reilly (42nd), who opposes the casino site, recently raised questions about the casino’s revenue projections at Wednesday’s meeting along with the chosen consulting firm’s ties to Bally’s.
As this story is still ongoing, and a date for the final vote has not been set, it’s still up in the air as to whether the casino will gain final approval. Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to send the casino application to state officials by the end of May.