CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced the list of finalists vying to get Chicago’s only casino license. 

Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock Chicago, and Rivers 78 were announced Tuesday as the trio of candidates:

  • Bally’s Corporation – Tribune Site: Bally’s Corporation has proposed a $1.74 billion casino project and hotel on a portion of the current Tribune Publishing Plant. The proposal includes a 3,000-seat theater; an Immerse Agency exhibition experience, a sports museum; an extension of the Riverwalk; a pedestrian bridge; a 500-key hotel tower; an outdoor park; an outdoor music venue; an amenity terrace featuring a large pool spa, fitness center and sun deck; and six restaurants, cafes, and a food hall. The casino will offer space for 3,400 slots and 173 table games. The bidder has projected the development will add 9,750 construction jobs and 2,002 permanent casino jobs. Bally’s is slated to open a temporary casino in 2023 with the permanent location anticipated for early 2026.  
  • Hard Rock – ONE Central Site:  The HR Chicago, LLC (“Hard Rock”) proposal includes the development of a $1.74 billion casino project on a portion of the site known as ONE Central. ONE Central is a large, proposed development north of the MPEA convention center on the lakefront.  This proposal includes a 3,500-seat Hard Rock Live venue; a Hard Rock Music and Entertainment experience; a 500-room hotel tower; a “Rock” spa; rooftop space; outdoor green space; several restaurants, cafes, and a food hall; and six bars and lounges. The casino will offer space for 3,000 slots and 166 table games. The bidder has projected the development will add 16,607 construction jobs and 3,140 permanent casino jobs. Hard Rock expects the temporary casino to open in mid-2023, and the permanent casino in 2025.  
  • Rivers – 78: The Rivers 78 proposal includes the development of a $1.62 billion casino project on a portion of the site known as “The 78.”   The 78 is a large development on the near south side of the City.  The proposal a riverfront plaza; an observation tower with indoor and outdoor space; a Harbor Hall multi-purpose riverfront venue for live entertainment, culture, arts and community programs with rooftop space; a 300-room hotel tower; and eight restaurants, cafes, a food hall, five bars and lounges. The casino includes space for 2,600 slots and 190 table games. The bidder has projected the development will add 3,410 to 4,375 construction jobs and 3,068 permanent casino jobs. Rivers plans to open a temporary casino on the 78 site in 2024, and the permanent location in late 2025.  

“We have spent countless hours analyzing each proposal for Chicago’s casino license and have determined Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock Chicago, and Rivers 78 best fit the core goals we want to achieve for the City’s first integrated casino-resort,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Each proposal offers economic, employment, and equity-focused opportunities for Chicago, while simultaneously enhancing the City’s cultural, entertainment and architectural scenes with world-class amenities and design. Our teams look forward to heading into discussions with the finalists and getting one step closer to bringing this decades-long project to fruition.” 

The formal development process will begin pending approval by City Council and the Illinois Gaming Board.