Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has approved the relocation of Holywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet casinos owned by Penn Entertainment. The parent company of the two suburban Chicago casinos and the Ameristar Casino facility located in Eastern Chicago received the approval to reconstruct Joliet and Aurora at more convenient locations.
As KPVI reports, Penn Entertainment plans to invest around $545 million into the two Hollywood Casino gaming properties following the IGB’s approval. Marcus Fruchter, the IGB administrator, reportedly commented: “Approval of the relocation proposals for the Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet casinos is a significant step in the regulatory process to bring new gaming venues to these host communities.”
Fruchter added: “The IGB will work with Penn Entertainment as it moves through the regulatory process to ensure these relocated casino venues are constructed, opened, and operated in an efficient, ethical, and compliant manner.”
According to the source, Penn Entertainment officials were aware that the competitive Chicago market requires huge investments to run Hollywood Casinos into profitability and avail of the opportunity to create numerous jobs in both communities. The relocation plans testify about Penn’s adoption of realistic prospects for the suburban sites and seem adjusted to the company’s financial estimates regarding the new locations.
According to the source, Penn will replace the Hollywood Casino riverboat on the Des Plaines River located southwest of Will County city with the $185 million Joliet land-based casino project which will be located in the Rock Run Crossings development at the nearby intersection of Interstates 80 and 55. The new Hollywood Joliet Casino will include around 800 slot machines and 45 table games, as well as a Barstool Sportsbook, prestigious bars and restaurants, conference and meeting space, and an event facility.
Hollywood Aurora Casino will not be developed on a downtown island in the Fox River as initially planned. Instead, the land-based casino will be constructed in a location close to Interstate 88, near the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall and the Fermilab campus. The $360 million development will include casino space with almost 900 slot machines and 50 table games.
Awaiting Regulatory Approvals:
This will reportedly be the second-largest Penn development in the Chicago area after its East Chicago development, Ameristar Casino, offering 1,177 slot machines and 42 table games. But the Aurora facility is set to have similar features as Ameristar and will include a 200-room hotel, a wellness center, bars and restaurants, conference and meeting space, and an event facility.
The construction of the Hollywood Joliet and Hollywood Aurora casino projects is reportedly scheduled to start by the end of 2023 following final regulatory approvals and permits now that the IGB has approved the relocation of subject properties.