Illinois Casinos

Illinois Casinos

Your guide to casino gaming in Illinois, including the latest on the Bally’s Chicago casino project

A long list of Illinois casinos are already open. And more casinos are on the way in 2023 in the Prairie State. The newest Illinois casino opened recently in Waukegan.

The Temporary by American Place Casino is the state’s 12th casino to open. It opened on February 17. Next up is the Golden Nugget in Danville. Expect it to open this summer.

And the largest IL casino is still to come.

Bally’s is building a huge casino at the former Chicago Tribune printing site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. The company hopes to open the Chicago casino by 2026.

In the meantime, Bally’s plans to open a temporary casino at Medinah Temple in the area. That could open as soon as 2023.

Chicago isn’t the only city in Illinois that’s getting a new casino. The 2019 gambling expansion allows for four more casinos in the Land of Lincoln, apart from the one in Waukegan. So far, that state has made some solid progress on a handful of projects:

  • The Illinois Gaming Board has granted “preliminary suitability” to Danville, Williamson County, and the south suburbs.
  • The temporary location of Hard Rock Rockford is already open.
  • Land-based casinos are set to replace the Hollywood riverboat casinos in Aurora and Joliet. Construction is anticipated to commence in 2023.

Recently, Illinois introduced online casino legislation. That means that in 2023 Illinois residents could see Internet casino games and online poker come to the Prairie State.

We have the latest casino news at Play Illinois.

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Bally’s Chicago Casino Proposal Details

  • Casino Manager: Self-managed
  • Site Update: The Chicago Tribune site now has 500 slots and 25 table games available temporarily.
  • Site Permanent: Chicago Tribune Publishing Center located on a 30-acre land at Chicago Ave. & Halsted St., Chicago.
  • Size: 30 acres
  • Cost: $1.8 billion
  • Slots: 3,400
  • Table Games: 173
  • Hotel Rooms: 500
  • Restaurants: 6
  • Bars: 3
  • Features include a 3,000-seat entertainment venue, rooftop space, and pools.

Chicago Casino, by the Numbers

The city requested proposals for a resort that includes a casino, a hotel of up to 500 rooms, restaurants and bars. The winning operator will be allowed to open a temporary casino for up to two years at a site of their choice.

  • There are 4,000 gaming positions, including slots at O’Hare and Midway International airports.
  • The state annually spends $500 million on nonroad infrastructure projects statewide.
  • Projected annual revenue for police/fire pension funds: $160 million-$200 million.
  • The effective tax rate that the Chicago casino would pay is 40%, a decrease from 72%.
  • The casino is set to open for business in the year 2025.

What’s the Tax Structure for the Chicago Casino?

Since the project’s inception, the city and the state have planned to tax the casino’s revenue aggressively. A Union Gaming Analytics study performed in August 2019 ascertained that a downtown Chicago casino could produce billions of dollars of revenue. However, it also determined that such a facility would not profit, given the original tax structure.

Like with many other casinos, revenue would face a graduated tax. The actual rates and thresholds made it so that the casino would have effectively paid 72% of its aggregate gross revenue to the city and state. With only 28% of what it took in after comps and other tax rebates left to cover its expenses, having something to show for the business’ operation would have proven extremely difficult. For that reason, IL lawmakers worked to adjust the tiers in late May.

The amendment to the Illinois gambling law did not drop the rates for a Chicago casino. It did, however, raise the tiers for each graduated rate significantly. For example, instead of paying a top rate of 74.7% on monthly slot revenue over $200 million, that rate now only applies to slot revenue of more than $1 billion in a month.

Here is the table for slot taxes:

Adjusted Gross Revenue State City Total
$0-$25 million 12% 10.5% 22.5%
$25 million-$50 million 16% 14% 30%
$50 million-$75 million 20.1% 17.4% 37.5%
$75 million-$100 million 21.4% 18.6% 40%
$100 million-$150 million 22.7% 19.8% 42.5%
$150 million-$225 million 24.1% 20.9% 45%
$225 million-$1 billion 26.8% 23.2% 50%
$1 billion+ 40% 34.7% 74.7%

The tax tiers for table games also increased with the latest legal wrangling. Again, the aim was to reduce the overall liability without dropping the rates themselves.

Adjusted Gross Revenue State City Total
$0-$25 million 8.1% 6.9% 15%
$25 million-$75 million 10.7% 8.4% 19.1%
$75 million-$175 million 11.2% 9.8% 21%
$175 million-$225 million 13.5% 11.5% 25%
$225 million-$275 million 15.1% 12.9% 28%
$275 million-$375 million 16.2% 13.8% 30%
$375 million+ 18.9% 16.1% 35%

Chicago Casino Project History

Here’s a timeline of events on the Chicago casino project:

  • In February 2023, the Illinois Gaming Board grants supplier licenses to both the landowner and the Medinah Temple, the anticipated location for the temporary Bally’s casino.
  • On December 14, 2022, the Chicago City Council approved zoning for Bally’s Chicago in River West. However, approval from the Illinois Gaming Board is still needed for Bally’s.
  • In November 2022, Bally’s completed a $200 million transaction to buy the Freedom Center printing plant site from Nexstar Media Group. This facility, which currently handles the printing of the Chicago Tribune, is set to become the permanent location for the casino.
  • On October 17, 2022, Bally’s entered into an agreement with organized labor to construct the casino.
  • On September 12, 2022, Bally’s submitted an application for a sportsbook license in Illinois.
  • On September 9, 2022, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared the establishment of a council. This council is intended to collect community opinions on the construction of Bally’s casino. The casino has plans to initially open a temporary venue in River North, before launching its permanent site in River West.
  • On May 5, 2022, Lori Lightfoot selected the successful casino bidder for Chicago.
  • Three community meetings are scheduled for this week, starting from April 5, 2022, to discuss every proposed location for the Chicago casino.
  • On March 22, 2022, Chicago reduced the number of casino proposals from five to three. Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock, and Rivers 78 are the proposals that remain.
  • In 2021, Chicago established a deadline of Aug. 23 for request for proposals. However, after receiving negative responses from casino operators, the city decided to extend the deadline to Oct. 29. By this extended deadline, five bids were submitted. These were then presented to the public in December 2021.
  • In May 2020, the tax code for the Chicago casino was revised by the enactment of Amendment 5. Following this, the city issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a site for a downtown casino.
  • 2019: June saw Pritzker signing the bill that authorized a casino in Chicago. Union Gaming Analytics conducted and released a study in August, pinpointing five distinct locations and declaring the tax structure unworkable. The tax code for the Chicago casino was first amended in November by Bob Rita.

Illinois Casinos Near You

The Prairie State boasts 12 casinos. One of them is sure to be within a short driving distance. The following casinos operate in Illinois:

American Place Casino Waukegan

The Temporary by Full House Resorts, opened in February 2023 in Waukegan. The Temporary features some 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games and three restaurants. Full House Resorts has partnered with Circa Sportsbook to offer a sports betting facility, but that won’t open until later in 2023. When it does, Circa Sportsbook will also launch online. It will become the eighth Illinois sportsbook. The permanent American Place casino is expected to open in 2025.

  • Casino Opened Temporarily: Yes, on February 17, 2023
  • Location: 4011 Fountain Square Place, Waukegan, Illinois 60085
  • Telephone: 773-477-9515
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Projected opening of the permanent site: 2025
  • Cost: $375 million

Argosy Casino Alton

Argosy Casino opened in 1991 on a small riverboat called the Alton Belle. Two years later, the larger Alton Belle II replaced its predecessor, substantially increasing the gaming positions in the boat. The casino remains on the same boat today. However, it no longer cruises as the state changed the law in 1999 to allow casino boats to stay permanently moored. While this casino doesn’t offer lodging, it does feature more than 800 slot machines and 12 gaming tables. In addition, gamblers can wager on sporting events at the self-branded retail book on board.

  • 1 Piasa Street, Alton, Illinois 62002
  • Telephone: 618-474-7500

Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel

Bally’s Corporation officially assumed ownership of Jumer’s in 2021 to be Bally’s Quad Cities Casino & Hotel. Representing the Illinois half of the Quad Cities, Jumer’s started as a riverboat in 1991. On-site, you’ll find a 205-room hotel, four restaurants, a poker room, a competitive offering of 25 gaming tables and over 850 slot machines. Because of its position on the Mississippi River, this casino pulls in many guests from neighboring Iowa.

  • Location: 777 Ballys Blvd., Rock Island, IL 61201
  • Telephone: 309-756-4600

DraftKings at Casino Queen

DraftKings at Casino Queen opened in June 1993 on a boat called the White Star One. In 2007, the operations moved inland. At the same time, gaming operations significantly expanded. In 2020, DraftKings Sportsbook partnered with the casino’s management to integrate its brand into the property’s name. The companies did so to satisfy the state’s co-branding rules for online sports betting. Today, you can find a hotel, an RV park, over 1,000 slots, 30 gaming tables and a massive retail sportsbook on the property. The complex also includes several dining options.

  • Location: 200 South Front Street, East St. Louis, Illinois 62201.
  • Telephone: 618-874-5000

Grand Victoria Casino

Since October 1994,Grand Victoria Casino has provided casino gaming to residents of Chicago’s far northwest suburbs. The property is now one of Caesars’ many holdings throughout the country. The retail sportsbook was one of the first to open in 2020. Besides that, the casino offers several dining options, event space, over 1,100 slot machines and 36 gaming tables. Although the casino offers no lodging for guests, it does have a VIP area for its most frequent patrons.

  • Location: 250 South Grove Avenue, Elgin, Illinois 60120
  • Telephone: 847-468-7000

Hard Rock Rockford Casino (temporary)

The permanent Hard Rock casino is in the process of being built, but a temporary casino is available in Rockford at the site of the old Giovanni’s restaurant and convention center.

The temporary casino will have 736 slot machines and two restaurants. It should be open for another one to two years.

  • Location: 610 North Bell School Road, Rockford, Illinois 61107
  • Telephone: (779) 269-9010

Harrah’s Casino Joliet

Harrah’s Casino Joliet has come a long way since its beginnings on the Northern Star boat in May 1993. The gaming floor now rests on two barges that boast over 50,000 square feet. Taking up that space is 31 gaming tables, over 600 slot machines and dining options. There is also a 200-room hotel adjacent to the Des Plaines River where the barges lay. The Harrah’s poker room is closed permantely.

  • Location: 151 North Joliet Street, Joliet, Illinois 60432
  • Telephone: 815-740-7800

Harrah’s Metropolis Casino

If you’re looking for entertainment along the Ohio River, this property might be your best bet. The 800 slot machines, 20 gaming tables, five restaurants, event space and a 258-room hotel await you at Harrah’s Metropolis Casino. This Caesars property has been open since 1994 when investment by Merv Griffin fueled the creation of what was then called Players Island. The moored boat also offers a steakhouse to fuel your gameplay.

  • Location: 100 E. Front St., Metropolis, IL 62960
  • Telephone: 618-524-2628

Hollywood Casino Aurora

Hollywood Casino Aurora was once the first-ever casino boat for the Hollywood corporation, but it’s now a Penn National Gaming holding. With continuous operation since 1993, it’s also one of the oldest properties in IL.

The boat moored along the Fox River boasts 26 gaming tables and over 1,100 slot machines on over 53,000 square feet of the gaming floor. There is no adjacent lodging, but the boat features three restaurants.

Penn is now in the process of moving the Aurora casino to a new land-based facility. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

  • Location: 1 W. New York St., Aurora, IL 60506
  • Telephone: 630-801-7000

Hollywood Casino Joliet

Hollywood Casino Joliet was once known as the Empress Casino, starting operation in 1992. Since Penn National acquired the Hollywood brand in 2005, it did a major renovation that the company completed in 2009. Onboard the boat, you’ll find a retail sportsbook, five restaurants, 18 gaming tables and more than 1,100 slot machines. There is a 100-room hotel adjacent to the boat as well.

Penn is now in the process of moving the Joliet casino to a new land-based facility. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

  • Location: 777 Hollywood Blvd., Joliet, IL 60436
  • Telephone: 815-744-9400

Par-A-Dice Casino

Located in the middle of the state, Par-A-Dice Casino is a casino boat docked on Peoria Lake. There’s something for everyone: a hotel, several restaurants, a retail sportsbook, 25 gaming tables and over 800 slot machines.

  • Location: 21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria, IL 61611
  • Telephone: 309-698-7711

Rivers Casino

The closest casino to Chicago proper enjoys its position just minutes away from O’Hare International Airport. In March and April 2020, its proprietary sportsbook brand BetRivers became the state’s first legal retail and online sportsbook. Rivers Casino is the youngest casino in IL, as it opened its doors in July 2011. It has all the trappings with six dining options, 65 gaming tables and over 1,000 slot machines. The casino does not have lodging, however.

  • Location: 3000 South River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
  • Telephone: 847-795-0777

Illinois Casinos on the Way

Hard Rock Casino Rockford

hard rock rockford

  • Casino: Temporary, currently open and situated at the former Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center.
  • Site Location: At the intersection of State Street and I-90 in Rockford.
  • Gaming Space Size: 64,000 square feet
  • Cost: $310 million
  • Job Availability: 1,000 full-time and part-time positions
  • Features include: A Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, along with a variety of bars and restaurants.

Walker’s Bluff Casino (Williamson County)

walker bluff casino plans

  • Site Permanent Address: 326 Vermont Rd, Carterville, IL 62918
  • Cost: $180 million
  • Employment: 1,000 jobs (both full and part-time)
  • Slots: 650
  • Table Games: 20
  • Features include an event center, on-site pool and spa, and a waterpark.

American Place Casino Waukegan

Full House

  • Casino Opened Temporarily: Yes, on February 17, 2023.
  • Fountain Square in Waukegan: Permanent Site
  • Cost: $375 million
  • Employment: 1,900 jobs, both full and part-time.
  • Slots: 1,640
  • Table Games: 100
  • Features include a 1,500-seat entertainment venue, gourmet restaurants, a four-star “mansion” hotel, and a helicopter pad.

Wind Creek Casino Homewood/East Hazel Crest

  • Temporary Casino: No
  • Site Location: Close to Interstate 80 on Halsted Street
  • Size: 69,160 square feet
  • Cost: $440 million
  • Job Availability: 800 full- and part-time positions
  • Slots: 1,350
  • Table Games: 56
  • Features include a skyline lounge, an entertainment center, bars, restaurants, and a four-diamond hotel.

Golden Nugget Danville

  • Temporary Casino: No
  • Site Location: Close to Southgate Industrial Park
  • Size: 45,100 square feet
  • Employment: 300 full-time jobs
  • Slots: 500
  • Table Games: 14
  • Features include a sports bar and two restaurants, one of which is a Saltgrass Steakhouse.