Chicago’s long-awaited casino has just moved one step closer as Bally’s paid its $40 million pledge to the city. The mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, confirmed the news on Thursday and thanks to this development, the $1.7-billion project can enter the next phase of development.
The Permanent Bally’s Casino Is Set to Change the Standards of the Gaming Industry
The proposed Bally’s casino in Chicago will be located at Tribune Publishing, 700 W. Chicago Ave. According to official reports, it is set to feature 500 hotel rooms, 3 bars, 6 restaurants, an entertainment venue consisting of 3,000 seats, as well as a gaming floor with 173 table games and 3,400 slot machines.
As a way to improve the casino’s surroundings, Bally’s committed $75 million to infrastructure improvement projects. Widening nearby roads, reconstructing roads, and adding traffic lights are part of the said improvements.
An extensive community host agreement was signed by the mayor of Chicago last week. The agreement finalized all of Bally’s operations, including the license, deadlines, how big the casino has to be, and so on.
A statement by the mayor’s office said that the $40 million payment is the first down payment from the casino and that the mayor and her team are looking forward to building on the success. Moreover, mayor Lightfoot is also looking forward to continuing to engage with the community via a “casino community advisory council.”
Bally’s money from the first down payment will support the city’s pensions. Additionally, the company agreed to pay $4 million annually and generate $200 million in annual tax revenue.
City Council Greenlit Bally’s Casino in May
Chicago’s City Council approved Bally’s casino proposal at the start of May with a 41-7 vote. According to estimates, the project will result in 3,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent casino jobs once the casino is fully operational.
According to Bally’s, a temporary casino will be launched in 2023, while the permanent casino will open up either in late 2025 or early 2026. The money was one of the key factors that made Bally’s the front-runner for the Chicago casino.
Just before City Council’s decision was made official, there were rumors circulating that Bally’s won the bid, however, mayor Lightfoot denied them all. She stated that at the time, the evaluation was still ongoing and a decision was yet to be made.
Media outlets such as Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun-Times considered Bally’s the winner of the bid and as it turned out, they were not wrong.
One of the biggest challenges that the casino will face is community opposition. Even though the project is slated to rake in millions of dollars for Chicago and its residents, many have raised concerns during community meetings.