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Hollywood Casino Aurora Gains City Council Approval To Move To A New Site

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
Exterior Rendering of New Hollywood Casino Aurora with logo

The Aurora City Council finalized plans to rezone land and approve a conditional use planned development for the Hollywood Casino. The Illinois casino received approval to move out of its long-time location on the Fox River to a site near the Chicago Premium Outlets mall.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted 10-1 to modify the zoning and move on with the project.

Construction of Penn Entertainment’s gaming venue will begin later this year.

Laesch votes against the casino relocation

Daily Herald reported that Alderman-at-large John Laesch was the only one against the measures.

Laesch has long opposed the financial stimulus that the developer receives from the city. The $360 million plan includes a $50 million loan and gifts of land.

Laesch debated that taxpayers should not subsidize the project, mainly because Penn Entertainment has made $2.75 billion to $2.77 billion annually in the last three years.

However, the city’s chief financial officer Christopher Minnick explained the casino project would not take away any money currently paid to those districts.

According to the agreement, Penn is supposed to repay the loan over 23 years from the increased property taxes expected from the casino. Penn must make up the difference if the property taxes can’t cover the loan payment.

About the new location for Hollywood Casino

Penn Entertainment is looking to move the casino to a 16.8-acre area. The site is on the west side of Farnsworth Avenue, surrounded by Bilter Road, Church Road and Corporate Boulevard.

The city initially zoned the site for business, wholesale and manufacturing use. The council then changed it to business and wholesale service, approving a conditional use planned expansion.

Penn Entertainment plans to build an Illinois casino that includes:

  • Barstool Sports sportsbook
  • Hotel
  • Restaurants

Although the Aurora project faced some criticism last fall, construction of the new casino is expected to begin in 2024. Penn is still waiting for the city to approve designs and construction plans.

The Hollywood Casino opened in 1993 on two riverboats downtown when the state approved gambling on moving boats. The boats were removed in 2004 and 2010 until 2019 when the state reformed its casino law to no longer require casinos to operate over a waterway.

Photo by Hollywood Casino Aurora; illustrated by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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