Aurora Establishes New TIF District For Hollywood Casino Aurora Relocation

Written By T.J. McBride on January 25, 2024
Rendering of new Hollywood Casino Aurora, whose new TIF district was officially established on Tuesday

One of the final steps toward the relocation of Hollywood Casino Aurora happened Tuesday with the establishment of a new TIF district

PENN Entertainment, which owns both Hollywood Casino options in the Prairie State, is currently in the process of relocating both casinos onto land after years of operating out of a riverboat. Both casinos have already broken ground on their new locations, and they are expected to open in the next couple of years.

Details of the new TIF district and why it was needed for Hollywood Casino Aurora to relocate

With more than a dozen casinos across Illinois, the casino gaming industry is thriving. There is no Illinois online casino market, but with the passing of a gambling expansion bill in 2019, casinos can finally come off the river and onto land.

PENN Entertainment jumped at the chance to relocate and build new and modern casinos for both of its locations in Aurora and Joliet. While the process is arduous, progress is being made. Another big step was recently taken for the Aurora location with the establishment of a new TIF district.

The new TIF – or tax increment financing – district needed to be altered because the site for the new Hollywood Casino Aurora was within a school district. The TIF district had already been approved, but with the district now formally established by an 11-1 vote on Tuesday by the Aurora City Council, the land can now officially be used to build the $360 million casino resort of I-88 near the Simon Premium Outlet Mall. 

The casino is currently on the Fox River in downtown Aurora.

Details of the new facility

The new casino resort in Aurora is expected to include a hotel with 200 rooms, 10,000 square feet of event space, and a large gaming floor that will house about 900 slot machines and 50 table games. There will also be a poker room and a baccarat room.

PENN Entertainment CEO and President Jay Snowden is excited to finally get construction started on the new home for Hollywood Casino Aurora.

“We are thrilled to soon begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art Hollywood Casino Aurora,” he said in a release. “Our tremendous and long-lasting partnership with the city of Aurora has provided an opportunity to relocate our property to an ideal location that will significantly improve our offerings and further our positive economic impact on the community.”

PENN Entertainment is also taking steps to relocate Hollywood Casino Joliet

Hollywood Casino Joliet is also relocating.

On Dec. 13 of last year, there was an official groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on the site. The project is expected to cost $185 million and will take about two years to build.

The location is expected to feature more than just a casino. There will be entertainment options, retail shops, restaurants and bars, as well as other amenities. All of this will be built at the Rock Run Collection site at the intersection of interstates 55 and 80.

The casino is expected to have 800 slot machines and 45 table games to go with a baccarat room, sportsbook, and event space.

“Approval of the relocation proposals for the Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet casinos are a significant step in the regulatory process to bring new gaming venues to these host communities,” Snowden said in a release. “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.”

Photo by PENN Entertainment
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He covers the gaming landscape across multiple states in addition to his main beat covering the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His NBA work can be found at several major media outlets including ESPN, FiveThirtyEight and Bleacher Report.

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