Bally’s Chicago Casino Wins Nod From City Planning Board

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Posted on: May 11, 2023, 06:05h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2023, 06:05h.

Bally’s announced today its proposed site plans for its $1.7 billion casino-hotel in Chicago were approved by the Chicago Department of Planning and Urban Development.

Bally's Chicago
A new rendering of Bally’s Chicago. The company won approval for the project from the Chicago Department of Planning and Urban Development. (Image: Bally’s)

The Rhode Island-based regional casino operator added that its Bally’s Chicago project will bring over 3,000 permanent jobs to the city and construction will commence in late 2024. The venue will be the operator’s most expensive project to date.

The development is a fusion of green space, arts and entertainment spaces, and exclusive hospitality areas. The iconic form of the hotel tower, which includes a spa and food and beverage venues, anchors the master plan at the north end of the site and features a shimmering facade that reflects and responds to the movement of the nearby Chicago River,” according to a statement.

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) must approve Bally’s application before the company can commence gaming operations at the venue.

Bally’s Chicago Casino Plan Gaining Pace

News of the Department of Planning and Urban Development approval arrived just days after Bally’s reached an agreement with Tribune Publishing on the Freedom Center — the 30-acre riverfront property on which Bally’s Chicago will reside.

Under the terms of that accord, Bally’s will deliver cash payments to the media company to expedite its departure from Freedom Center to July 2024. Last November, Bally’s paid $200 million for that real estate. The casino operator later sold the property assets to a private equity firm in a $500 million sale-leaseback transaction to raise capital for the Chicago casino effort. Bally’s retained the right to eventually repurchase the land.

In the meantime, Bally’s expects to open a temporary casino at Medinah Temple this summer. Earlier this week, Bally’s President George Papanier said in a statement that both projects are on schedule and on budget.

The temporary venue is important for the operator in terms of building a database of customers and vital to Chicago’s revenue-generating interests.

“The project provides Bally’s with the exclusive right to operate a temporary casino for up to three years while the permanent casino resort is constructed. Bally’s Chicago will be the first fully integrated casino resort in the center of a major city within the United States,” the gaming company added in the statement.

Bally’s Courting Community

Bally’s isn’t shy about its efforts to generate goodwill in the Chicago community. Earlier this week, the gaming company filed plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO) tied to the Windy City casino.

Financial terms of the offering haven’t been set, but the gaming company pledged to sell up to a 25% interest in the project to various stakeholders, including “philanthropists, business owners, sports stars, celebrities, and everyday Chicagoans from the Black and Latino communities, as well as other ethnic and gender representation,” according to Bally’s website.

With 10,500 employees, Bally’s currently operates 15 gaming venues in 10 states.

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