Bally’s selected to operate Chicago’s first casino

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hoping for proposals from Las Vegas-based operators.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hoping for proposals from Las Vegas-based operators.

After first denying the rumours, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has now confirmed that Chicago has selected Bally’s to build a $1.7bn casino.

US.- Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has confirmed that Bally’s Corporation has been selected to build and operate Chicago’s first casino. The announcement came only two days after Lightfoot denied reports that the city had chosen Bally’s proposal as the winning bid. The other finalists were Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock.

Bally’s proposal is for a $1.7bn casino to be built on the 30-acre Chicago Tribune Publishing Center at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halstead Street. The casino is to have 3,400 slots, 170 table games, 500 hotel rooms, six restaurants, three bars, a 3,000-seat theatre, an outdoor park and other amenities.

The project is expected to create 3,000 construction jobs per year, in addition to 3,000 permanent casino roles when fully functional. Bally’s will pay the city $40m up front plus annual payments of $4m. 

As part of Bally’s Community Investment Program, 25 per cent of the equity in Bally’s Chicago will be reserved for a matched financing scheme that will allow local communities of investors to own a stake in the project.

Bally’s chairman Soo Kim commented: “We would like to thank Mayor Lightfoot and her office for conducting a tough, but fair, RFP process and selecting Bally’s Chicago as the final bidder for the city’s casino.  

“Chicago is a unique and vibrant city, deserving of world-class gaming and entertainment destination that is of, by and for the people by driving the local economy, supporting local labour, creating multigenerational wealth for minority investors and showcasing the best of what the city has to offer.  

“We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with Mayor Lightfoot and all our valued community partners on this exciting endeavour.”

Mayor Lightfoot said: “We are confident Bally’s Tribune Publishing Center development will shore up the City’s pension funds, create thousands of well-paying jobs and lead to a bright financial future for our city.” She will still need City Council and the Illinois Gaming Board to sign off on the deal.

See also: Chicago casino bidders scrutinised at special meeting

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