Chicago Mayor Selects Bally’s Casino Plan; What Happens Next?

Chicago Mayor Selects Bally’s Casino Plan; What Happens Next? May 6, 2022 May 6, 2022 Doug Ramirez
 Industry May 6, 2022 by Doug Ramirez

Proposed Bally's Chicago Casino

  • Bally’s could receive the sole casino license in Chicago.
  • The project will be constructed at the Tribune Publishing Center site in the River West area.
  • Hard Rock and Rivers were the two additional bidders up for consideration.

Yesterday, the office of Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a press release, stating that Bally’s Corporation had the winning bid and would receive the single casino license in the city. Hard Rock International and Rivers were in the running, but apparently didn’t make the cut.

Bally’s has plans to spend $1.7 billion to create a casino resort at the site of the Tribune Publishing Center. The casino will offer gaming and hotel stays along with other amenities.

Confident in the Decision to Select Bally’s

In the press release, Mayor Lightfoot said she is confident that the right choice was made for Chicago. After reviewing analysis and community input, the Bally’s plan was selected based on what it can contribute to the city.

The mayor said she feels that the development will help boost the pension funds in the city as well as create thousands of jobs that offer quality pay. Overall, the plan will lead to a bright financial future for the city.

It has been estimated that the new casino would bring around $200 million a year in tax revenues. The funds from the operations would go towards fire and police pensions. However, the plan was also subject to criticism from residents and officials.


Opposition Looms Over the Project

The Bally’s plan has seen stiff opposition from all sides, as residents in the neighborhood and officials on the city council are not in favor of the plan. Residents do not feel that the site is viable, and homeowners’ associations worry about the devaluing of property once the casino is operational.

River North Residents’ Association are opposed to the casino plans and after a survey was conducted, showed that over 85% of people would not like to see the Bally’s plan come to life. Some residents even pointed out that the Tribune site is an odd choice because there are not many transit options in the area.

So, what happens now? The mayor’s office will need to complete a host community agreement with Bally’s to ensure terms of the project. An Alderman special committee will then evaluate the agreement. The City Council will be involved in the final recommendation process and the formal development plan must be agreed upon by the City Council and the state Gaming Board.

The public will have an opportunity to speak about the decision on May 12 during a community engagement event. It will be interesting to see how residents and council members respond to the decision.

Doug RamirezAuthor

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