Gambling Legislation

Illinois bill could allow temporary casinos to become semi-permanent

Illinois bill could allow temporary casinos to become semi-permanent

Illinois lawmakers may redefine what constitutes a temporary casino in the state

Bally’s recently revealed its temporary casino in Chicago’s Medinah Temple, planning to leave the property after a permanent facility is built in three years. However, a bill was passed by the state senate on October 24, which permits temporary casinos to stay in operation longer than the current regulations of 24 months with a 12-month extension.

The new legislation would grant temporary casinos a “period of time deemed necessary or appropriate” by the Illinois Gaming Board,” which could considerably extend the time Bally’s Medinah Temple remains open.

The proposal submitted by state Sen. Bill Cunningham (D) didn’t target the Bally’s Chicago property. Full House Resorts in Waukegan had to delay the construction of its permanent casino as they await the conclusion of a lawsuit regarding the bidding process.

Cunningham stated that Bally’s played no part in his proposal, adding that the new law “could be helpful to the casino project at some point.”

“If there is a need for a safety hatch involving the Chicago project, this would provide that, too,” he remarked to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The state House of Representatives was expected to debate the proposal this week. Bally’s officials have guaranteed gaming regulators that the undertaking is on schedule and will begin construction in July 2024.

Bally’s $1.7-billion casino at Freedom Center will feature 3,400 slots, 170 table games, a 3,000-seat entertainment venue, a food court, six restaurants, three bars and a 500-room hotel.

The company expects thousands of construction jobs to be created, with city officials estimating tax revenues of over $200 million annually, which will help benefit the police and fire pension debt. The city owes over $35 billion to four pension funds, including municipal workers and other city laborers.

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