Hollywood Casino Aurora to Break Ground on $360M Resort
Posted on: November 28, 2023, 11:38h.
Last updated on: November 28, 2023, 12:03h.
Hollywood Casino Aurora officials have announced that they will break ground on the property’s highly anticipated brick-and-mortar resort on Wednesday, November 29. This $360 million development is a result of lawmakers in Illinois agreeing to allow riverboats to move inland more than four years ago.
The future resort is being developed by Penn Entertainment, the operator of Hollywood Casino Aurora, and Gaming and Leisure Properties, the owner of the property. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2:45 pm CT and will mark the start of a construction project expected to take 24 months to complete.
Penn Entertainment CEO and president Jay Snowden expressed his excitement, stating, “We are thrilled to soon begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art Hollywood Casino Aurora.”
The existing Hollywood Casino Aurora opened in June 1993 as a riverboat gaming destination. It has since been replaced by a 70,000-square-foot floating structure permanently moored in the Fox River.
The current casino has generated approximately $81.9 million in gross gaming revenue through October, making it the fourth-highest earner among the state’s 15 casinos this year.
The new development is part of a larger shift in the gaming industry in Illinois, as lawmakers permitted riverboat casinos to move inland in 2019. In October 2022, Penn Entertainment announced plans to build the new land-based casino in Aurora to replace the aging floating facility.
The new resort will be located approximately 3.5 miles northeast adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets. It will feature a casino floor with 1,200 gaming positions, a retail sportsbook, multiple bars and restaurants, a 220-room hotel, a full-service spa, and 12,000 square feet of convention and event space. In addition, there will be approximately 1,700 parking spaces.
The project is expected to create 700 temporary construction jobs and lead to 700 permanent positions once the resort is operational. Hollywood Casino Aurora will continue operating as a riverboat during the construction of the new land-based destination.
This ambitious development is part of Penn Entertainment’s wider investment plans, which include a total investment of $850 million into four casino properties, and a recent $1.5 billion investment to launch the ESPN Bet sportsbook in 17 states. These investments are positioning Penn Entertainment as a major player in the rapidly expanding US gaming and sports betting market.