Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s Mayor, announced on Thursday that Bally’s has won the license to set up and operate a gaming site in Illinois. Bally’s Corporation defeated Rush Street and Hard Rock in bidding for the license.
Lightfoot added that the city approved Bally’s plan to develop a casino in the Chicago Tribune printing center. Many players anticipated this announcement and the Mayor made it after the casino operator agreed to partner with several local labor unions.
Chicago officials picked the Rhode Island company to build the casino at the Tribune’s printing plant’s site, several miles northwest of the Loop downtown district. They released an evaluation report on Thursday indicating that the operator’s proposal would benefit the city more than Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock International’s proposed projects.
Bally’s gaming space will accommodate 170 table games and 3,400 slot machines. Besides, it will have a hotel with 500 rooms, six eateries, an external amphitheater, and a 3,000-seat theater.
Lightfoot stated in the press conference that Bally’s will seek more input from the community to guide its redevelopments. She added that the casino has been receptive to Chicago’s city about the project’s design as the new casino and hotel will create an iconic skyline and memorable getaway along the Chicago River. Moreover, it blends well with its current landscape.
The other phase will include a host community agreement (HCA) which will abide by the agreed terms. Then, the pact will be tabled before a City Council committee, and Bally’s Corporation is willing to pay $40 million after the agreement is signed. This is in addition to its initial $25 million pledge, and it will start paying Chicago $4 million annual beyond tax revenues.
The casino will hire 3,000 employees, while the construction phase will create 3,000 jobs. Some city reports state that the project will offer 9,750 construction jobs.
Bally’s Is Committed to Inclusion
Bally’s Corporation Chairman, Soohyung Kim, told reporters on Thursday that the casino operator is willing to invest in Chicago. It will not only help it increase its police officers’ and firefighters’ pensions, but it will also help the city achieve its inclusiveness goal.
The official said that the casino understands the importance of all local laborers teaming up to build the casino and operate it. Capitalism has isolated underrepresented groups for long, and the city requires more projects that they can take part in.
This Isn’t an All-Back Plan
Some Chicago City Council members have supported Bally’s project, including Alderman Burnett. He is a Democrat and a representative of the ward in which the operator plans to develop the casino.
He stated that it will be a high-end entertainment destination which will offer many jobs and various amenities in the 27th ward and promote tourism in the region. Also, it is a lifetime chance for Chicago to be a leading gaming destination in the country.
Even so, the alderman criticized Lightfoot’s move claiming that it is against the Council’s plan to consider the remaining three proposals. Some groups, such as the community in the River North neighborhood, are opposing the casino project.
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