Construction of $360M Resort by Hollywood Casino Aurora Commences

Posted on: November 28, 2023, 11:38h. 

Last updated on: November 28, 2023, 11:38h.

Hollywood Casino Aurora officials have announced that the groundbreaking for its new brick-and-mortar resort will take place on November 29, 2023. This exciting development comes more than four years after Illinois lawmakers agreed to move riverboats inland.

Hollywood Casino Aurora Penn Entertainment
An artist’s rending of the forthcoming $360 million Hollywood Casino Aurora. Penn Entertainment, which operates the current riverboat, and Gaming and Leisure Properties, which owns the property, are behind the brick-and-mortar project. (Image: Penn Entertainment)

Penn Entertainment, the operator of Hollywood Aurora, confirmed today that the groundbreaking ceremony will be held on November 29, 2023, at 2:45 pm CT, marking the beginning of a construction project expected to take 24 months to complete.

“We are thrilled to soon begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art Hollywood Casino Aurora,” said Jay Snowden, Penn Entertainment CEO and president.

Hollywood Casino Aurora opened in June 1993 as a riverboat gaming destination and has since become a popular attraction, generating gross gaming revenue of approximately $81.9 million through October, ranking fourth among the state’s 15 casinos.

Resort Development

Illinois lawmakers agreed to allow casinos to move inland in 2019. Penn Entertainment announced in October 2022 its intentions to build a new land-based casino in Aurora, replacing the aging floating facility.

Penn and its primary landowner, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI), agreed last October on financing terms for the brick-and-mortar development in Aurora. GLPI will bankroll $225 million to relocate Hollywood Casino Aurora inland. Penn Entertainment will finance the remaining $135 million, with $50 million funded through bonds issued by the City of Aurora.

The new resort site is about 3.5 miles northeast, adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets, an area that attracts more than eight million visitors annually. Penn Entertainment expects the resort will result in 700 permanent jobs, with an additional 700 temporary positions during the construction phase.

Penn Spending Spree

Penn Entertainment’s Hollywood Casino Aurora is part of the company’s $850 million investment overhaul of four casinos, with an additional $1.5 billion investment in the ESPN Bet sports betting business. The ESPN Bet sportsbook has already gone live in Indiana, among other states, gaining more than 1.1 million downloads during its first week in operation.

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