Bally's moving ahead with plans for permanent River North casino

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Friday, June 14, 2024
Bally's moving ahead with plans for permanent downtown casino
This comes as after a report by Sun-Times said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson still has doubts about the Bally's Casino plans in River North.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bally's Casino is moving ahead with plans for a permanent casino in Chicago, and the mayor's office confirmed on Tuesday that the city is still committed to those plans.

It comes after a published report suggested Mayor Brandon Johnson had some reservations.

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Bally's laid the groundwork on Tuesday for potential contracts with hundreds of minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses that will be needed to build and supply the permanent casino complex it is planning to open in River West in 2026.

"It means a lot to know that there's a roadmap that's actually looking for organizations like ours to be providing the services that we actually provide in our community," said Alvin Hargrove with LifeSafety365.

This vendor fair came on the heels of a report by the Chicago Sun-Times, saying Johnson still has doubts about Bally's plans for a $1.7 billion permanent casino.

READ MORE | Bally's lays out new plans for hotel on top of River North casino

That report caught the general manager of the temporary casino in River North off-guard. He said this vendor fair would suggest otherwise.

"I think that's the testament of our commitment, to move forward and everything's on track," said Bally's Chicago Casino Vice President and General Manager Mark Wong.

The new casino would be built along the river on the current site of the Chicago Tribune publishing facility in Alderman Walter Burnett's 27th Ward.

"This casino is going to be built, and there's going to be money to be made for everyone. So I will say this, 'I'm betting on Bally's, y 'all,'" Burnett said.

SEE ALSO | Bally's River North casino brings in $9.7M less than former Mayor Lori Lightfoot's estimate

In May, Bally's reported the highest monthly revenue from its River North temporary facility since it opened in September.

The mayor's office downplayed concerns about Johnson's support of a permanent casinos, saying, "The city is pleased that Bally's has reached its highest revenue numbers so far, and continues to be committed to the permanent casino project."

Burnett doubled down on the new casino's future.

"This is something that we need. It's not that's not just what we want. This is what the city needs. So, no way in the world that the mayor is going to stop that," Burnett said.

Bally's doesn't take possession of the Tribune building until July 5, but Burnett said there is a meeting on Friday to talk about demolition. It's just one more indication that Bally's is moving forward with plans for the permanent casino.

READ MORE | Bally's Chicago casino opens for business at former Medinah Temple in River North

Mark Wong, vice president and general manager of Bally's Chicago, said in a statement, "Our commitment to this project has never wavered and we are on track for a September 2026 opening. When we take possession of the property on July 5, work to prepare the site for demolition will begin immediately, such as capping water and electrical lines. Additional details about the demolition timeline and financing are forthcoming."