The future of a Bally's Corporation casino planned for River West is on hold for now as City Council Members and a special council committee continue to sort through details of the massive $1.74 billion project.
The deal was expected to get its first vote Friday by a special committee consisting of alderman. However, those on the committee said they had received the first draft of the casino contract just 48 hours earlier -- with several changes made overnight after it was sent. As a result, the committee delayed the vote, saying more time is needed to examine the details.
"We have to make sure they are comfortable, that they have got all the information they need," Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said. "This is a very big decision that the city council, all 50 of them, have to make.
Lightfoot is expected to preside over Monday's City Council meeting, where a vote on whether or not to move the project forward could take place.
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What Neighbors and Alderman Are Saying About the Proposed Casino
Nearby the proposed casino site, inside a building that houses the City Church in Chicago, a senior pastor says this weekend during Saturday's sermon, several Bally executives asked him more than once "What's your number?", giving the impression that executives wanted to buy that building, or arrange to build them a new church.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office has not responded to requests from NBC 5 about those claims.
A concert venue, 3,000-seat theater, fitness center, an outdoor park and music venue are among the many amenities planned for the location, which sits in the city's 27th Ward.
"I still think it is a great project and will help us with our budget crisis, so I support it 100%," said Ald. Walter Burnett, the ward's alderman.
But not everyone is on board, including Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward includes the Medinah Temple, the proposed site of the temporary casino that could be up and running by next year.
"Now we will have a beacon in River North for all the criminals to know... People with money in their pockets are going to be coming to this block," he stated. "Good luck."
Lightfoot has not released a date or a timeline on when the proposed casino might open.
According to a press release from the Mayor's office, the permanent proposed site at the Tribune Publishing Plant would need to be redeveloped, so Bally's would open a temporary casino first in River North at the Medinah Temple, located at 600 N Wabash Ave -- the former site of a Bloomingdale's Home Store.
Chicago's Bally's Casino, By the Numbers
The $1.74 billion dollar project includes:
- A 3,000 seat theater
- An extension of the Riverwalk and pedestrian bridge
- A 500-room hotel tower
- An Outdoor park and music venue
- A fitness center, sun deck and pool spa
- Six restaurants and a food hall
- 3,400 slots
- 170 game tables
- Nearly 3,000 permanent jobs
As part of its proposal, Bally's offered the city $40 million up front. and $4 million per year after that.
The city estimates a casino will bring in $200 million a year in tax revenue -- money that is earmarked for police and fire pensions, according to officials.
According to officials, Bally's has committed to 60% minority hiring for its nearly 3,000 jobs.