The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has given the green light to Penn Entertainment’s plans to relocate its two suburban Chicago casinos, Hollywood Casino Aurora and Hollywood Casino Joliet. The move is part of the company’s efforts to invest over $500 million in reconstructing its gaming properties and making them more accessible.
Accordingly, the Hollywood Casino Aurora will be moving from its site on a downtown island in the Fox River to a land-based location near the Chicago Premium Outlets mall and the Fermilab campus. The new $360 million development will have a casino with 900 slot machines and 50 table games, along with a 200-room hotel, bars and restaurants, meeting space, and an event center.
Meanwhile, the current Hollywood Casino Joliet, sitting on a riverboat on the Des Plaines River southwest of Will County city, will be replaced with a $185 million land-based casino in the Rock Run Crossings development at the intersection of Interstates 80 and 55. The casino will feature approximately 800 slot machines and 45 table games, including a baccarat room, a Barstool Sportsbook, bars and restaurants, meeting space, and an event center.
“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,” Marcus Fruchter, IGB administrator, told Associated Press.
Penn Entertainment officials have said that the investment is necessary to keep the Hollywood Casinos competitive in the Chicago-area market and to create hundreds of new full-time jobs in each of the communities.
Hollywood Casino Aurora
The IGB endorsement is a significant step in the regulatory process for Penn Entertainment to relocate the casinos to new sites. Construction on both projects is expected to begin in late 2023, pending final regulatory approval.
The relocation proposals for Hollywood Aurora and Hollywood Joliet casinos are part of a wider expansion of casinos in Illinois. Other casino construction projects underway include Wind Creek Chicago Southland, Bally’s Chicago Casino, and new casinos in Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, and Walker’s Bluff.
Penn Entertainment also recently launched PENN Play, an enhanced customer loyalty program expected to better serve the gambling operator’s 26 million members. The new program is set to empower customers with expanded options to earn and redeem rewards across the firm’s portfolio of brands.