Bally’s Gets Potential Labor Pool Boost With Illinois Bill Passage

Legislation passes while Bally's waits for gaming board to process its application for Chicago casino
chicago skyline

The Illinois House of Representatives voted in concurrence to pass SB 1462 on Thursday night, widening the potential labor pool of hospitality industry employees in the state to include those with felony convictions.

The bill passed through the Senate in March by a 44-12 vote and included an amendment that would make prospective employees with a felony conviction eligible to receive an occupational license from the Illinois Gaming Board for non-gaming positions at licensed casinos. The amendment also gives the IGB discretion to review each potential licensee and “refuse an occupational license to any person who has a background that poses a threat to the public interests of the State or to the security and integrity of gaming.”

The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Kam Buckner — whose district encompasses Chicago and who unsuccessfully ran for mayor this year — was brought up in the lower chamber Wednesday and passed out of the Gaming Committee by a 13-3 vote after it was noted labor unions and the IGB were in favor of the bill. After little debate on the floor Thursday, the concurrence vote broke 78-27 in favor of passage.

Bally’s looking to hit ground running

The passage of SB 1462 comes three weeks after Bally’s published its job postings for up to 700 positions at its temporary casino at Medinah Temple in the River North neighborhood of Chicago and its proposed $1.7 billion permanent venue at the Tribune publishing plant in nearby River West. Bally’s, which submitted its application as the city’s preferred operator last August, is still waiting for a determination of “preliminary suitability” from the IGB, which would then put it on a path to be awarded a temporary operating permit.

Bally’s hopes to open Medinah Temple during the summer, but that is subject to the IGB’s timeline for approval. The state agency did approve supplier licenses for the venue in February.

The next scheduled IGB meeting is June 15. Bally’s will also have a license renewal for its Quad Cities casino come up for approval before the board at that meeting.

The city has projected a downtown casino would generate $200 million in annual tax revenue, which would go toward its underfunded police and fire pensions. In its presentation to the city, Bally’s projected it could reach $192 million in annual tax revenue by year six of full maturity.

Photo: Getty Images


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