Bally’s Corp. announced it has signed multi-year labor agreements with local unions in Chicago, all pertaining to the construction of the gaming company’s $1.7 billion integrated resort.
The Chicago skyline. Bally’s reached labor agreements for construction of its casino there. (Image: Travel + Leisure)
The Rhode Island-based casino operator said it struck a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council (CCBT) and the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department.
BCTC is proud to stand with Bally’s Chicago in this historic building of the first and only casino in the City of Chicago,” said CCBT President Michael Macellaio. “With this agreement, Bally’s shows that it understands the importance of good-paying jobs in our city and the dignity of our hard-working people.”
In May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot selected Bally’s as the winning bidder in the Chicago casino competition. The first casino in the third-largest US metro area will be built northwest of the city’s Loop downtown district.
Diversity, Labor Important in Chicago Casino Process
Chicago has a rich history with organized labor, indicating it’s not surprising Bally’s needs to make good with local unions to bring its most ambitious project to date to life. Diversity and inclusion were also prioritized in the bidding process, and Bally’s is making efforts to live up to that promise.
“We are also committed to inclusivity, and our partnerships with the CCBT, Chicago Federation of Labor, and Hire360 will ensure our workforce will reflect the rich diversity of the city,” said Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim in the statement.
The casino is viewed as a jobs and revenue generator for the third-largest US city. By some estimates, Chicago residents spend $331 million annually at Indiana casinos, and the Bally’s venue could help the city retain $190 million of that sum. That’s meaningful to the city and Illinois, which is the most financially imperiled large state in the country.
Bally’s is currently working on a temporary casino location at Medinah Temple — a site that’s drawing scrutiny among local politicians because of rising crime in that area and potential traffic consequences.
Chicago Could Be Bally’s Kind of Town
Currently, Bally’s operates 15 casinos in 10 states. But its lone venue in a destination market is Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip.
In Chicago, the operator faced competition for the gaming license, but it wasn’t exceptionally stiff owing to the high tax rate the city is placing on the casino. The effective tax rate of 40% means the tax the operator of the Chicago casino will face is high relative to other US gaming markets. But the market is still attractive because of a dearth of high-end gaming venues in major domestic metropolitan areas.
“Bally’s Chicago will include 3,400 slots, 170 table games, 10 food and beverage venues, a 500-room hotel tower with rooftop bar, a 3,000 seat / 65,000 square foot entertainment center, a 20,000 square foot exhibition, outdoor music venue, and outdoor green space including an expansive public riverwalk with a water taxi stop,” according to the statement. “The project also provides Bally’s with the exclusive right to operate a temporary casino for up to three years while the permanent casino resort is constructed.”