Earlier this week, an Aurora City Council Committee officially approved the preliminary project for the $360-million Hollywood Casino resort that is planned to be built in the northeast part of the city.
City Council members who are part of the Building, Zoning and Economic Development Committee unanimously voted in favor of the construction plans, and some rezoning for the site that is supposed to host the Hollywood Casino resort. The approval of the preliminary project will send the plans to the City Council Committee of the Whole which is set to meet on June 20th.
The general manager of the Hollywood Casino, Greg Moore, shared that the new development is the only way the parent company of the planned casino resort – Penn Entertainment – is given the chance to match the stiff competition in Illinois of rivals such as Des Plaines-based Rivers Casino and the pending mega-casino in Chicago.
As confirmed by Mr. Moore, Hollywood’s gaming revenues in the city fell from $151.6 million in 2012 to $114.5 million in 2019. He believes that the new location of the planned Hollywood Casino is much better and would help Aurora’s gambling revenue, especially considering preliminary estimates that say that the new location would bring many more than the 900,000 people that currently visit the existing casino every year.
The 2019 gambling law amendment made the development of the aforementioned casino resort possible, as casino licenses were no longer required to be tied to a location along a river. The city of Aurora also helped the process to allow the establishment of the Hollywood Casino resort.
New Hollywood Casino to Doble Casino Jobs from 350 to 700
As revealed by the Hollywood Casino resort owners, the new location will feature 1,200 gaming positions, a Barstool sportsbook, 200 hotel rooms, several new restaurants, an outdoor entertainment area, as well as an event center, along with a total of 1,600 parking spaces.
The vice president of construction with Penn Entertainment, Michael Carroll, noted that the casino resort plans to develop not only its gambling and gaming options but would be largely focused on its non-gaming customers, as well. According to him, the new Hollywood Casino is likely to create about 700 jobs, while the construction works will open a further 700 jobs.
Penn Entertainment hired Langan to carry out a traffic study of the area surrounding the new casino resort and Brian Witkowski, a member of Aurora’s engineering division, confirmed that the study was completed in line with all requirements and took into account all traffic needs in the area. Mr. Witkowski further noted that the city of Aurora is still negotiating with the Illinois Toll Highway Authority about potential changes in the traffic in the area.
Penn Entertainment and the city of Aurora have inked a redevelopment agreement under which the city will provide the land for the casino resort and donate $50 million to the casino, which the casino is set to pay back.