Despite pushback from alderpersons and residents, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has decided to select Bally’s casino plan at the Tribune Publishing Plant as the winning project. Lightfoot needs to earn approval from the City Council and a state agency before the casino can come to fruition.

Bally’s For the Win

The first casino in Chicago will be Bally’s, based on a decision made by the city’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The proposal includes a casino resort located at the Chicago Tribune Publishing plant site. The casino would offer 3,400 slot games along with 170 table games. The hotel space would include 500 guest rooms and six restaurants are planned for the project.

Additional amenities are included such as an outdoor park, three bar areas, and a theater. Before the plans can get off the ground, the City Council and Illinois Gaming Board need to approve the deal. The casino is said to have the ability to bring $200 million to the city as an annual payout.

Bally’s says a temporary casino will launch next spring and the permanent facility will open by the end of 2025 or early 2026. The temporary casino would be located at Medinah Temple and offer easy access to transit.

Why Choose Bally’s?

So, why did Mayor Lightfoot choose the Bally’s project for Chicago? For starters, she liked the financial benefits that the project brings to the city. Upfront payments include $40 million and then $4 million will be paid annually as part of a Host Community Agreement. Bally’s is also the only operator that does not have a competing casino nearby.

The company also agreed to organized labor which helps employees and has committed to listening to the local community on how the venue is developed. There is no doubt that the community will speak out since some residents have been opposed to the plan from the very beginning. Some council members also felt like they would be helping Lightfoot make the decision and that was not the case.

Groups of residents have come out against the project, stating that they would be disappointed if the casino were selected for the city.

For now, there are still steps to take for Bally’s casino to become a reality. Will the City Council and Gaming Board agree with Mayor Lightfoot? Will Bally’s make the cut? Or will the opposition be too strong and more discussions had on which plan should be chosen as the first casino for the Windy City?