Joliet Council Gives Green Light For New Hollywood Casino

Written By Matt Boecker on February 24, 2023
The Penn National facility explored moving to a new community, but the appeal of the Rock Run Crossings project kept the casino in Joliet.

Earlier this week, the Joliet City Council gave approval for a new Illinois casino to open at Rock Run Crossings.

Hollywood Casino Joliet will be built on a 309-acre piece of land that was also recently approved to house a 570-unit apartment complex. The development project will  feature restaurants, stores and offices in the hopes of creating an area that has something for everyone.

The updated Illinois casino and its neighbors will be located near the I-55 and I-80 interchange. This makes travel convenient for Chicagoland residents.

Hollywood Casino Nearly Left Joliet

Earlier this month, Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk talked about how pivotal the Rock Run development is in his State of the City speech. He said Hollywood Casino nearly left Joliet, but the allure of Rock Run kept the gaming operator in the area.

O’Dekirk said:

“There was a serious attempt to get Hollywood to leave Joliet and move to other cities.”

Instead, the Penn Entertainment-owned casino will be moving about four miles from its current location and into a new home. Cullinan Properties, the developers of Rock Run, are calling the site a “super-regional” project because it has the ability to attract Illinoisans from far and wide.

Revised laws allow Hollywood casino to move inland

In 2019, Illinois introduced a massive gambling expansion. Included was the ability for 10 riverboat casinos to move off the water. But it wasn’t until last October that Penn president and CEO Jay Snowden announced the company’s intentions to move Hollywood Casino Joliet to Rock Run.

Now that the Illinois Gaming Board and the Joliet City Council have given Penn the thumbs up, Hollywood Casino’s move is official.

The new venue will cost $185 million to construct, and promises the following features:

  • 800 slot machines
  • 45 live table games
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • Several restaurants and bars
  • 10,000-square-foot event center

Penn also owns and operates Hollywood Casino Aurora which faced riverboat restrictions in the past. But the Aurora location is in line for a new venue, too.

A new $360 million Aurora casino will be built next to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall off I-88. Construction is scheduled to break ground on the site late in 2023.

It will have more gaming options and amenities than the Joliet casino. Hollywood Aurora will feature:

  • 900 slot machines
  • 50 live table games
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • Hotel with 200 rooms
  • Full-service spa
  • Several bars and restaurants
  • 10-square-foot event center
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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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