Penn Replacing Riverboats With Land-Based Illinois Casinos In Aurora And Joliet

Written By Dave Briggs on October 11, 2022
Penn will spend $545 million to move from riverboat casinos to new land-based facilities. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

Penn Entertainment has announced it is relocating its riverboat Illinois casinos in Joliet and Aurora to new land-based facilities.

“Since the change in law to permit land-side casino relocation in Illinois, we have been exploring the viability of relocating our aging riverboats in Aurora and Joliet,” Jay Snowden, chief executive officer and president of Penn Entertainment said in a release. “Thanks to the support of our local community leaders, in particular the visionary leadership of Mayor Richard Irvin and his staff in Aurora, we are very excited to be moving forward with these projects.”

Illinois casino in Aurora to be built near outlet mall, cost $360 million

Specifically, Penn will build a new Aurora casino and hotel next to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall. The site is near Exit 119 off I-88. Construction will begin on the site, in late 2023, subject to city and regulatory approval.

The $360 million project will include:

  • 900 slots
  • 50 live table games (including a baccarat room and poker room)
  • Barstool sportsbook with the ability to play host to popular Barstool personalities
  • 200 hotel rooms
  • full-service spa
  • bars and restaurants
  • 10,000 square feet of meet areas
  • event centre

“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,” said Snowden.

In addition, the Aurora development will include the transfer of certain parcels of land from the city, and up to $50 million of the project will be funded by the city through a new bond issuance, all of which is subject to final approval by the Aurora City Council.

New Joliet casino to cost $185 million

Further, in Joliet, the new casino will cost some $185 million. The Rock Run Crossings development project will be the home of the new casino. Rock Run Crossings is adjacent to the I-80 and I-55 interchange and several miles from the current Hollywood Casino Joliet riverboat property which it would replace. It will not have a hotel.

Same as the new Aurora casino, construction on the new Joliet facility will begin in late 2023. Of course, this is pending city and regulatory approval.

The new Joliet casino will include:

  • 800 slots
  • 45 live table games (including a baccarat room and poker room)
  • Barstool sportsbook
  • bars and restaurants
  • 10,000 square feet of meet areas
  • event centre

“In Joliet, our planned casino will be located in the Rock Run Crossings development mixed use project in close proximity to the I-80 and I-55 interchange, which offers exceptional visibility and accessibility,” said Snowden.

“These two projects will significantly improve our offerings in the highly attractive Chicagoland market while creating hundreds of new full-time jobs for the local communities.

And Snowden also said Penn expects the projects to: “generate strong free cash flow returns and create long-term value for our shareholders.”

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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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