Special city counsel committee approves Bally’s Chicago casino plans

The Chicago casino plans of Bally’s Corporation are moving forward. Yesterday, a special City Council committee consisting of hand-picked chairs by the mayor, decided to approve the Bally’s project to continue to progress. Organized labor groups came out in support, and it seemed to be enough to get the job done.

Bally’s has now moved past a major hurdle connected to its $1.7 billion plan to create a River West casino. A temporary casino will be located in River North at the Medinah Temple.

Host Agreement Approved

With the approval comes the signing of a host agreement with Bally’s. The agreement covers a labor deal and other commitments that were made by the company including financial obligations, hiring, and contracting.

The meeting took place at City Hall and ended with a 27-3 committee vote in favor of the project. The special group met earlier in the day and then took a recess before reconvening to discuss the matter further. The council voted to defer and publish the host agreement which sets up the plan to receive final approval this Wednesday.

During the meeting, Alderman Brendan Reilly, and Alderman Edward Burke tried to convince other council members that the Bally’s casino will create a bottleneck in the River West area, a place that is already facing congesting issues. The two also pointed out that Bally’s has never created a casino from the ground up. The aldermen also pointed out that Mayor Lori Lightfoot went around the committee that she set up to provide herself with political cover regarding the decision she had made already.

Accusations Against the Mayor

Reilly is totally against the Medinah Temple becoming a temporary gambling facility in Chicago and exempting the property from a liquor moratorium that exists on the block. He says that Lightfoo taya365 t’s change to this landmark building will create more crime in the area and the block will not be able to accommodate the influx of traffic.

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Those in favor of the casino feel that it offers plenty of economic opportunities. Plans are to use the funds generated from the casino to shore up pension needs for local police and fire departments. Without the help, there is a risk of increasing the property tax to pay pensions.

Reilly also accused Lightfoot and her administration of putting more weight on the $40 million in upfront payments from Bally’s and not enough on the revenue projections made by the operator. The alderman pointed out that the casino would need to earn $1.4 million a day, every day to reach projections. He feels this won’t happen, especially if you consider local issues such as snow, crime, protests, and other factors.

Jennie Huang Bennett, the Chief Financial Officer for the city, says the venue will need to generate $353,000 or so a day to meet the projections by the city. The remaining money needed would be generated from property taxes and improved value of the industrial site.