Bally’s pays pledge of $40 million to Chicago to initiate casino project

June 17, 2022

Bally’s paid $40 million to the city of Chicago, fulfilling its promise to pledge the money to start off the first casino project in the city. The money will be allocated to fund the cost of the city’s pension.

"The City of Chicago received $40 million from Bally's as part of an upfront payment that will go entirely toward the City's annual required pension contribution. This is the first down payment from the casino on the future of Chicago's pensions and a clear indication of the City's commitment to its hardworking public safety professionals," wrote the statement from the Mayor's office.

Bally’s was chosen for the amount of the pledge they delivered recently. The fact alone is what makes the company stand out and win against three finalists for the casino project.

Bally’s planned to open a riverfront casino and resort at the Tribune Publishing site in River West, 700 W. Chicago Ave. The company pours $1.7 billion into the casino to feature 3,400 slots and 173 table games, The permanent casino location will also have 500 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat entertainment venue, six restaurants, a food hall, and three bars.

The casino plan advisory

The City Council of Chicago approved the casino in a vote of 41-7 in May this year. Even so, a pushback from critics said the decision was made too quickly.

However, Bally’s has long showed its commitment. In addition to the pledge, the company also agreed to pay $4 million every year as well as $200 million annually in tax revenue. It also spent $75 million on the improvement of the infrastructure around the would-be casino.

The fund will pay for synchronized traffic signals, reconstruction and widening of nearby roads, and many more.

"Mayor Lightfoot and her team look forward to building upon this success by bringing thousands of good-paying, union jobs and a world-class entertainment district to the River West neighborhood," said the statement from the Mayor’s office.

"The Mayor also looks forward to continuing to engage with community through the establishment of a casino community advisory council. Details on that council, including an application, can be found at”

The voice of River North residents

The casino project also received input from The River North Residents Association. The group asks for parts of the venue to change for a better experience for the guests and residents of the area.

The Association also asks for a public park instead of an outdoor music venue. It advised the casino to have an eastbound exit ramp and a westbound entrance ramp for easier access from Bally’s River West casino and the Ohio-Ontario feeder. To handle Halsted Street congestion, Jefferson Street should then be extended to Grand Avenue.

The residents also requested 2 percent of the city's annual revenues from casinos to be allocated to help people affected by gambling addiction.

However, the statement from the Mayor’s office revealed another purpose as well.

"In the years to come, the Chicago Casino is projected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to the City, with many of those revenues earmarked for pensions," it said. "This builds upon last week's signing of the host community agreement, which codified the casino license between the City and Bally's.

Gus Anderson
Gus Anderson is a gambling wizard. As a kid he dreamt about becoming a Tennis, Hockey and Golf professional but ended up as a gambling professional with focus on both sports & casino.