Illinois casino options are plentiful. Illinois already has tons of casinos open, and more are on the way.
And the largest casino in Illinois is still to come.
Bally’s casino currently has a license pending with the Illinois Gaming Board. Once the license is granted, Bally’s will construct the casino at the former Chicago Tribune printing site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. The company hopes to open the Chicago casino by 2025.
In the meantime, Bally’s plans to open a temporary casino at Medinah Temple in the area. That could open as soon as 2023.
Chicago isn’t the only city in Illinois that’s getting a new casino. The 2019 gambling expansion allows for five more casinos in the Land of Lincoln. So far, that state has made some solid progress on a handful of projects:
- Danville, Williamson County and the south suburbs received “preliminary suitability” from the Illinois Gaming Board.
- Waukegan is working toward opening its temporary site by December.
- Hard Rock Rockford is already open with a temporary location.
Illinois introduced online casino legislation in 2021, but that has yet to come to fruition. However, 2023 could see Internet casino games and online poker come to the Prairie State.
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Bally’s Chicago Casino Proposal Details
- Casino Manager: Self-managed
- Temporary Site: Chicago Tribune site: 500 slots and 25 table games
- Permanent Site: 30-acre Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, Chicago Ave. & Halsted St.
- Size: 30 acres
- Cost: $1.8 billion
- Slots: 3,400
- Table Games: 173
- Hotel Rooms: 500
- Restaurants: 6
- Bars: 3
- Features: 3,000-seat entertainment venue, rooftop space, pools
Chicago Casino, by the Numbers
The city requested proposals for a resort that includes a casino, a hotel of up to 500 rooms, restaurants and bars. The winning operator will be allowed to open a temporary casino for up to two years at a site of their choice.
- 4,000: How many gaming positions, including slots at O’Hare and Midway International airports.
- $500 million: Yearly spend back to the state on nonroad infrastructure projects statewide.
- $160 million-$200 million: Projected annual revenue for police/fire pension funds.
- 40%: Effective tax rate the Chicago casino would pay, down from 72%.
- 2025: Year the casino will be open for business.
Latest Illinois Casino News
What’s the Tax Structure for the Chicago Casino?
Since the project’s inception, the city and the state have planned to tax the casino’s revenue aggressively. A Union Gaming Analytics study performed in August 2019 ascertained that a downtown Chicago casino could produce billions of dollars of revenue. However, it also determined that such a facility would not profit, given the original tax structure.
Like with many other casinos, revenue would face a graduated tax. The actual rates and thresholds made it so that the casino would have effectively paid 72% of its aggregate gross revenue to the city and state. With only 28% of what it took in after comps and other tax rebates left to cover its expenses, having something to show for the business’ operation would have proven extremely difficult. For that reason, IL lawmakers worked to adjust the tiers in late May.
The amendment to the Illinois gambling law did not drop the rates for a Chicago casino. It did, however, raise the tiers for each graduated rate significantly. For example, instead of paying a top rate of 74.7% on monthly slot revenue over $200 million, that rate now only applies to slot revenue of more than $1 billion in a month.
Here is the table for slot taxes:
|Adjusted Gross Revenue||State||City||Total|
|$25 million-$50 million||16%||14%||30%|
|$50 million-$75 million||20.1%||17.4%||37.5%|
|$75 million-$100 million||21.4%||18.6%||40%|
|$100 million-$150 million||22.7%||19.8%||42.5%|
|$150 million-$225 million||24.1%||20.9%||45%|
|$225 million-$1 billion||26.8%||23.2%||50%|
The tax tiers for table games also increased with the latest legal wrangling. Again, the aim was to reduce the overall liability without dropping the rates themselves.
|Adjusted Gross Revenue||State||City||Total|
|$25 million-$75 million||10.7%||8.4%||19.1%|
|$75 million-$175 million||11.2%||9.8%||21%|
|$175 million-$225 million||13.5%||11.5%||25%|
|$225 million-$275 million||15.1%||12.9%||28%|
|$275 million-$375 million||16.2%||13.8%||30%|
Chicago Casino Project History
Here’s a timeline of events on the Chicago casino project:
- May 5, 2022: Lori Lightfoot chooses the winning casino bidder for the city of Chicago.
- April 5, 2022: There will be three community meetings this week to discuss each proposed Chicago casino location.
- March 22, 2022: Chicago eliminates two of the five casino proposals. Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock and Rivers 78 remain.
- 2021: Chicago set a request for proposals deadline for Aug. 23. Chicago began to hear negative feedback from casino operators and extended the deadline to Oct. 29. Five bids finally rolled in at the deadline and were presented to the public in December 2021.
- 2020: In May, Amendment 5 became law and revised the Chicago casino’s tax code. The city puts out an RFI for a downtown casino site.
- 2019: In June, Pritzker signed the bill authorizing a Chicago casino. In August, Union Gaming Analytics released its study, specified five specific locations, and deemed the tax structure untenable. In November, Bob Rita introduced the first amendment to adjust the tax code for the Chicago casino.
Illinois Casinos Near You
The Prairie State boasts 11 casinos. One of them is sure to be within a short driving distance. The following casinos operate in Illinois:
Argosy Casino Alton
Argosy Casino opened in 1991 on a small riverboat called the Alton Belle. Two years later, the larger Alton Belle II replaced its predecessor, substantially increasing the gaming positions in the boat. The casino remains on the same boat today. However, it no longer cruises as the state changed the law in 1999 to allow casino boats to stay permanently moored. While this casino doesn’t offer lodging, it does feature more than 800 slot machines and 12 gaming tables. In addition, gamblers can wager on sporting events at the self-branded retail book on board.
- Address: 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002
- Telephone: 618-474-7500
Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel
Bally’s Corporation officially assumed ownership of Jumer’s in 2021 to be Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel. Representing the Illinois half of the Quad Cities, Jumer’s started as a riverboat in 1991. On-site, you’ll find a 205-room hotel, four restaurants, a poker room, a competitive offering of 25 gaming tables and over 850 slot machines. Because of its position on the Mississippi River, this casino pulls in many guests from neighboring Iowa.
- Address: 777 Ballys Blvd., Rock Island, IL 61201
- Telephone: 309-756-4600
DraftKings at Casino Queen
DraftKings at Casino Queen opened in June 1993 on a boat called the White Star One. In 2007, the operations moved inland. At the same time, gaming operations significantly expanded. In 2020, DraftKings Sportsbook partnered with the casino’s management to integrate its brand into the property’s name. The companies did so to satisfy the state’s co-branding rules for online sports betting. Today, you can find a hotel, an RV park, over 1,000 slots, 30 gaming tables and a massive retail sportsbook on the property. The complex also includes several dining options.
- Address: 200 S. Front St., East St. Louis, IL 62201
- Telephone: 618-874-5000
Grand Victoria Casino
Since October 1994, Grand Victoria Casino has provided casino gaming to residents of Chicago’s far northwest suburbs. The property is now one of Caesars’ many holdings throughout the country. The retail sportsbook was one of the first to open in 2020. Besides that, the casino offers several dining options, event space, over 1,100 slot machines and 36 gaming tables. Although the casino offers no lodging for guests, it does have a VIP area for its most frequent patrons.
- Address: 250 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
- Telephone: 847-468-7000
Hard Rock Rockford Casino (temporary)
The permanent Hard Rock casino is in the process of being built, but a temporary casino is available in Rockford at the site of the old Giovanni’s restaurant and convention center.
The temporary casino will have 736 slot machines and two restaurants. It should be open for another one to two years.
- Address: 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, IL 61107
- Telephone: (779) 269-9010
Harrah’s Casino Joliet
Harrah’s Casino Joliet has come a long way since its beginnings on the Northern Star boat in May 1993. The gaming floor now rests on two barges that boast over 50,000 square feet. Taking up that space is 31 gaming tables, over 600 slot machines and dining options. There is also a 200-room hotel adjacent to the Des Plaines River where the barges lay. The Harrah’s poker room is closed permantely.
- Address: 151 N. Joliet St., Joliet, IL 60432
- Telephone: 815-740-7800
Harrah’s Metropolis Casino
If you’re looking for entertainment along the Ohio River, this property might be your best bet. The 800 slot machines, 20 gaming tables, five restaurants, event space and a 258-room hotel await you at Harrah’s Metropolis Casino. This Caesars property has been open since 1994 when investment by Merv Griffin fueled the creation of what was then called Players Island. The moored boat also offers a steakhouse to fuel your gameplay.
- Address: 100 E. Front St., Metropolis, IL 62960
- Telephone: 618-524-2628
Hollywood Casino Aurora
Hollywood Casino Aurora was once the first-ever casino boat for the Hollywood corporation, but it’s now a Penn National Gaming holding. With continuous operation since 1993, it’s also one of the oldest properties in IL.
The boat moored along the Fox River boasts 26 gaming tables and over 1,100 slot machines on over 53,000 square feet of the gaming floor. There is no adjacent lodging, but the boat features three restaurants.
- Address: 1 W. New York St., Aurora, IL 60506
- Telephone: 630-801-7000
Hollywood Casino Joliet
Hollywood Casino Joliet was once known as the Empress Casino, starting operation in 1992. Since Penn National acquired the Hollywood brand in 2005, it did a major renovation that the company completed in 2009. Onboard the boat, you’ll find a retail sportsbook, five restaurants, 18 gaming tables and more than 1,100 slot machines. There is a 100-room hotel adjacent to the boat as well.
- Address: 777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436
- Telephone: 815-744-9400
Located in the middle of the state, Par-A-Dice Casino is a casino boat docked on Peoria Lake. There’s something for everyone: a hotel, several restaurants, a retail sportsbook, 25 gaming tables and over 800 slot machines.
- Address: 21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria, IL 61611
- Telephone: 309-698-7711
The closest casino to Chicago proper enjoys its position just minutes away from O’Hare International Airport. In March and April 2020, its proprietary sportsbook brand BetRivers became the state’s first legal retail and online sportsbook. Rivers Casino is the youngest casino in IL, as it opened its doors in July 2011. It has all the trappings with six dining options, 65 gaming tables and over 1,000 slot machines. The casino does not have lodging, however.
- Address: 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018
- Telephone: 847-795-0777
Illinois Casinos on the Way
Hard Rock Casino Rockford
- Temporary Casino: Yes, currently open and located at old Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center
- Permanent Site: Intersection of State Street and I-90 in Rockford
- Size: 64,000 square feet of gaming space
- Cost: $310 million
- Employment: 1,000 full and part-time jobs
- Features: Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, various bars and restaurants
Walker’s Bluff Casino (Williamson County)
- Permanent Site: 326 Vermont Rd, Carterville, IL 62918
- Cost: $180 million
- Employment: 1,000 full and part-time jobs
- Slots: 650
- Table Games: 20
- Features: Event center, pool and spa at the site, waterpark
American Place Casino Waukegan
- Temporary Casino: Yes, opening summer 2022
- Permanent Site: Fountain Square in Waukegan
- Cost: $375 million
- Employment: 1,900 full and part-time jobs
- Slots: 1,640
- Table Games: 100
- Features: 1,5000 seat entertainment venue; gourmet restaurants; four-star “mansion” hotel; helicopter pad
Wind Creek Casino Homewood/East Hazel Crest
- Temporary Casino: No
- Permanent Site: Near Interstate 80 on Halsted Street
- Size: 69,160 square feet
- Cost: $440 million
- Employment: 800 full- and part-time jobs
- Slots: 1,350
- Table Games: 56
- Features: Skyline lounge, an entertainment center, bars, restaurants and a four-diamond hotel
Golden Nugget Danville
- Temporary Casino: No
- Permanent Site: Near Southgate Industrial Park
- Size: 45,100 square feet
- Employment: 300 full-time jobs
- Slots: 500
- Table Games: 14
- Features: Sports bar, two restaurants including a Saltgrass Steakhouse