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City Receives Bally’s $40 Million Upfront Payment For Chicago’s 1st Casino

The money, which was a major factor in making Bally's the frontrunner among three finalists, will support the city's pension costs.

The Chicago River runs next to the proposed site of the Bally’s casino in the River West neighborhood at the Chicago Tribune’s printing plant on May 24, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The promised multi-million dollar payment to make Chicago’s first casino a reality is in city’s coffers.

Bally’s has paid the $40 million it pledged as part of its pitch for the $1.7 billion riverfront casino and resort at the Tribune Publishing site in River West, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement Thursday.

The money, which was a major factor in making Bally’s the frontrunner among three finalists, will support the city’s pension costs. Bally’s also has pledged to pay the city $4 million annually to that end, and generate $200 million in yearly tax revenue.

The mayor signed an extensive community host agreement for the casino last week, finalizing everything from Bally’s license to operate, how big the casino must be and its deadlines to open.

“This is the first down payment from the casino on the future of Chicago’s pensions and a clear indication of the City’s commitment to its hardworking public safety professionals,” a Mayor’s Office statement read. ” … Mayor Lightfoot and her team look forward to building upon this success by bringing thousands of good-paying, union jobs and a world-class entertainment district to the River West neighborhood. The Mayor also looks forward to continuing to engage with community through the establishment of a casino community advisory council.”

The City Council approved the casino in a 41-7 vote in May, following what critics said was a rushed approval process.

The permanent Bally’s casino at Tribune Publishing, 700 W. Chicago Ave., will include 3,400 slots, 173 table games, 500 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat entertainment venue, six restaurants, a food hall and three bars. The company has committed to $75 million to infrastructure improvement projects around the casino site, which include projects ranging from synchronized traffic signals to reconstruction and widening of nearby roads.

RELATED: Chicago’s Casino Will Have A 3,000-Seat Theater, A 2-Acre Park, An Extended Riverwalk And More. Here’s What To Expect

Credit: Bally’s/SCB
A rendering of Bally’s proposal for a $1.7 billion casino to be built at the Tribune Publishing site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.

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