Penn Entertainment Gets All-Clear To Move Illinois Riverboat Casinos To Land

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on May 8, 2023
Penn Entertainment Moving IL Casinos to Land

It’s been almost six months since Penn Entertainment announced it would be relocating its Illinois riverboat casinos to land. 

But finally, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) is giving the all-clear to Penn’s relocation plans. 

The move is part of Penn’s $500 million investment plan to make its properties more accessible. Penn officials say investments in its Hollywood Casinos are necessary to stay competitive in the Chicagoland market.

Approval from the gaming board will also allow Penn to create hundreds of new full-time jobs in each community. 

Gaming board approves Penn’s relocation plans

Marcus Fruchter, the administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, said approving Penn’s plans was a significant step in the right direction. 

In a statement, Fruchter said:

“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.”

Penn moving its riverboat casinos to land is part of a broader expansion of Illinois casino gaming. 

Other casino construction projects include:

  • Wind Creek Chicago Southland
  • Bally’s temporary Chicago casino at The Medinah Temple
  • Bally’s permanent Chicago casino
  • New casinos in Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, and Walker’s Bluff

Penn casinos are not moving far

The Hollywood Casino Aurora will move from its Fox River location to a land-based spot near the Chicago Premium Outlets mall and the Fermilab campus.

Penn President and CEO Jay Snowden said: 

“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 $360 million project will include 900 slot machines and 50 table games.

Additional amenities include:

  • 200-room hotel
  • New bars & restaurants
  • 10,000 square feet of meeting space
  • Convention center

As for the Hollywood Casino Joliet, the Des Plains riverboat will move to the Rock Run Crossings development at the intersection of Interstates 80 and 55.

The $185 million development will have 800 slot machines and 45 table games, including a baccarat room, a Barstool Sportsbook, bars and restaurants, meeting space, and an event center.

Pending regulatory approval, construction on both projects might begin in late 2023. 

Photo by PlayUSA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for PlayUSA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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