Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot officially announced that she has set up a new advisory council that would be entitled to the responsibility to gather community feedback on the already unveiled casino project. At the same time, the company that is to establish the casino – Bally’s Corporation – moves forward with its plans for a temporary casino venue situated in River North, and a permanent casino venue situated in River West.
In a statement published on September 8th, Ms. Lightfoot shared that her administration had remained dedicated to ensuring various opportunities for Chicago’s residents to share their opinions and concerns associated with the establishment of the proposed casino since the beginning of the process to secure such a venue.
Now, she explained that the Community Advisory Council would create a space for all kinds of community stakeholders to share their engagement and see that their opinion have an actual meaning before, during and after the construction of the proposed casino. Chicago Mayor’s office further noted that community groups and residents of the city from the neighborhoods situated in close proximity to the permanent casino location in River West will be included in the body, along with professionals with expertise on a variety of topics linked to the casino.
The aforementioned Advisory Council will be overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the Chicago Department of Transportation, as well as by Jennie Huang Bennett – the chief financial officer of Chicago.
Bally’s Temporary Casino in River North Expected to Open in Q2 2023
As previously reported, in May 2020, the City Council officially gave the green light to Bally’s Corporation’s River West-based casino project, which has been estimated at a total of $1.7 billion. The site that is set to host the venue is currently home to the Chicago Tribune newsroom and a printing plant. At the time, the gambling operator revealed plans to open a temporary casino in River North in the second quarter of 2023. The permanent casino in the River West location is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2026.
So far, Bally’s Corporation handed over the initial $40-million upfront payment for the casino project to the city of Chicago. The gambling and casino operator, however, still needs to get its casino plan approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.
The application of the company was filed with the state board in August 2022, and once it gets its operating license, the River West casino project will have to go through the entire approval process of formal planning and zoning carried out by the competent city authorities.
As mentioned above, the aforementioned Community Advisory Council will be tasked with gathering community feedback related to the development of the permanent casino project, including potential issues linked to the temporary casino location. Mayor Lightfoot’s office explained that the body will continue its operation throughout the entire development process until the permanent casino starts operation. The group is set to meet every quarter to discuss various issues raised by the local community in terms of Bally’s casino project.