Chicago City Council committee to begin casino approval process

Bally's proposal calls for casino at site of Tribune Publishing Plant at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in River West

Monday, May 9, 2022
Chicago City Council committee to begin casino approval process
A Chicago City Council committee will discuss approving Mayor Lori Lightfoot's pick for a casino proposal at the Tribune Publishing Plant.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The approval process for a Chicago casino will take steps forward Monday as a special committee of aldermen will discuss the finalist.

Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced she selected the Bally's Corporation for the city's sole casino license, beating out two other bids.

The Bally's Casino and Hotel is expected to be built in the River West neighborhood on what is now the Chicago Tribune's Freedom Center printing plant near Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.

But the project doesn't have the green light just yet. The full City Council and the Illinois Gaming board need to approve the project.

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The city estimates a casino will bring $200 million a year in tax revenue, which would be earmarked for police and fire pensions according to officials, but the road ahead to approval could be a bumpy one.

"I want those line of Illinois license plates that are queued up going to casinos in Indiana to be coming right here," Mayor Lightfoot said.

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A River North Resident's Association survey showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents don't want it in their back yard.

Some aldermen in nearby wards are not thrilled about the approval process.

"There were a number of indicators during this process that showed there was some preference towards Bally's," Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward alderman, said.

The special committee has only met one time and Monday's virtual meeting will be its second.