A sprawling new casino has just been approved by Chicago City Council in a 39-5 vote earlier this week. The casino is moving forward with hopes to build a $1.74 billion Bally’s casino and resort. Even though the proposed zoning changes were approved by the city council, construction can not yet start as the Illinois Gaming Board still needs to vote for final approval, giving Bally’s casino a license to operate.
The space, which was the Chicago Tribune’s former newsroom and printing plant, will sit on over 30 acres of land. If approved by the gaming board, it would be the first-ever casino in Chicago, drawing crowds to the prime River West location.
Located at N. Halsted St. and W. Chicago Ave., the project is set to build on a portion of the Tribune Publishing Center at Tribune Publishing Plant. 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.
Construction can take a while, though 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, previously raised questions about the casino’s revenue projections along with the chosen consulting firm’s ties to Bally’s.
As this story is still ongoing, and approval form the Illinois Gaming Board is yet to be announced, this is just one small step forward.