* Chicago Tribune…
The clock is now running for the publicly traded Rhode Island-based company to win license approval from the state, finalize its proposal with the city’s planning department and get its casino opened on an ambitious timeline.
If all goes well, Chicago gamblers could be splitting aces and pulling slot levers in temporary quarters by next summer, but several hurdles remain.
The Bally’s proposal to build a $1.74 billion casino complex in River West is expected to generate $200 million in annual tax revenue for the city, transform a 30-acre industrial site into a bustling entertainment destination and send the Chicago Tribune packing from its Freedom Center printing plant along the Chicago River.
While the permanent casino is not expected to open before 2026, Bally’s plans to launch a temporary casino at Medinah Temple by June 2023. That may require an accelerated process at the gaming board.
* Block Club Chicago reports neighborhood opposition…
A public park is just one in a 42-item wish list the group submitted to Bally’s. Brian Israel, president of the River North Residents Association, said residents across the river don’t want to be bothered by the loud noise a riverfront music venue would bring. […]
Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), whose ward includes the River West casino site, said the River North Residents Association hasn’t met with him to discuss its concerns. But if Bally’s agrees to eliminate the outdoor music venue for a public park, he said he’d be “open” to the idea.
“I don’t know how that would affect the deal that was voted on and if that that legally can happen, because I’m sure it’s a part of the financial package in the agreement,” Burnett said.
The West Central Association, the chamber of commerce for the West Loop, hasn’t met with casino officials yet but will in the near future, said President Armando Chacon.
* River North Residents Association met with Bally’s representatives in July…
On July 7, 2022, RNRA leaders met with Bally’s representatives to review our initial 42 project improvement recommendations set forth below, which were published on June 14, based on input from many association members and partners. While RNRA believes that they address essential issues involving this project, the organization remains open to other suggestions as well. […]
Replace the outdoor music venue with a well-appointed and accessible public park, including an onsite Dog Friendly Area and river walk connection. Involve Friends of the Parks in this process.
-Bally’s originally assumed that the outdoor performance venue would be a welcome amenity for the neighborhood, but now understands the significant concerns of nearby residents about associated noise, light, and traffic disruption near their homes. Will consider this request, pending input from other groups.
* Crain’s Chicago Business…
The Rhode Island-based firm anticipates that 65% of its workers will be minorities and 45% women, with ownership at least 25% minority.
It also predicted “significant” economic impacts, with local taxes eventually reaching $200 million a year, annual gaming receipts of more than $800 million and four million people a year visiting the facility. […]
Under state law, the application itself is confidential, according to the gaming board’s spokesman. […]
The board gave no timetable as to when it will vote on the application. Construction work can’t begin, even at the temporary location, until Bally’s license is approved.
* Chicago Sun Times…
The 2019 state law that created the Chicago casino license and five others across Illinois gives the Gaming Board up to a year to review Bally’s application, with the possibility of an extension beyond that.
State regulators typically have taken at least that long to vet Illinois’ other new casino applicants. More than two years elapsed from the time partners in the Hard Rock Casino Rockford applied for Gaming Board approval until they launched a temporary casino last fall. […]
Bally’s has already made an upfront payment of $40 million to the city, one of the cards the gambling firm put down to beat out two other finalists in Lightfoot’s casino developer selection process. The company also has to pay the state a $250,000 application fee. […]
Potentially easing the process for Bally’s is the fact that it already operates a state-licensed casino in Rock Island, a known entity for the Gaming Board.