Ceremony To Mark Construction Start On New Hollywood Casino Joliet

Written By T.J. McBride on December 12, 2023
Rendering of the new Hollywood Casino Aurora on a story about a groundbreaking of the new casino.

An official groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 13 will usher in construction on the new Hollywood Casino Joliet.

It is one of two Hollywood casinos in Illinois moving from riverboat operations to land-based facilities. The $185 million project is expected to take 24 months to complete.

Penn Entertainment is also building a new state-of-the-art casino resort in Aurora to replace the riverboat casino there.

Casino a part of multi-use development on 309 acres

Fifteen casinos make up the Illinois casino market. The new casino in Joliet is at the Rock Run Collection site at the intersection of interstates 55 and 80. The area is planned as a multi-use development that will include offerings beyond gaming.

There will be residences, entertainment facilities, retail shops, restaurants and other development across the 309-acre area. There are also plans to add a Regal cinema, though those plans have not been updated since 2019. The residential build is expected to include 570 apartments. There will also be warehouse space on the east end of the land.

The casino is expected to house 800 slot machines and 45 table games. There will also be a baccarat room, a Barstool Sportsbook, bars and restaurants, meeting space and an events center. Penn sees the new Hollywood Casino in Joliet as an anchor tenant.

The current Hollywood Casino Joliet sits on the Des Plaines River off Route 6. It opened in 1992 when it was called Empress Casino.

Hollywood Casino Aurora will also be on the move in the near future

Penn also plans to relocate its other casino operation in Illinois. Construction on the new Hollywood Casino Aurora should begin soon.

The project is expected to cost $360 million and will include both a new gaming floor and a hotel. The casino will have 900 slot machines and 50 table games. The hotel will feature 200 hotel rooms, bars and restaurants as well as 10,000 square feet of convention and meeting space. There will also be a Barstool Sportsbook and a full service spa.

Penn Entertainment President and CEO Jay Snowden said the plan is to relocate Hollywood Casino Aurora off Interstate 88.

“Our plan for Aurora is to construct a modern, best-in-class casino and hotel in an ideal location off I-88 that will allow us to serve the millions of visitors to the adjacent Simon Premium Outlet Mall.”

The Illinois Gaming Board, via administrator Marcus Fruchter, has said it will continue to assist Penn is relocating the Hollywood casinos.

“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. 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.”

These are not the only casinos currently expanding offerings. Bally’s Chicago is operating out of a temporary facility at The Medinah Temple as it builds a permanent location in Chicago. Wind Creek Chicago Southland is also renovating. There are also new casinos in other Illinois cities.

  • Waukegan
  • Rockford
  • Danville
  • Walker’s Bluff
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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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