Taxman seeks better odds from Bally’s for Chicago casino

Bally’s site could be be valued at minimum of $125M – forever

Lori Lightfoot with Bally's (Getty, Bally's, iStock)
Lori Lightfoot with Bally's (Getty, Bally's, iStock)

Chicago is trying to negotiate better odds for its bet on Bally’s.

The city, which picked Bally’s for its first casino this month, proposed that the River West site would be assessed at a minimum of $125 million a year – even if the valuation were to slide, Crain’s reported.

It would mean the city could collect more taxes on the $1.7 billion, 30-acre property should the Cook County Assessor’s Office raise its assessment. While Bally’s and owners of at least 25 percent of it could object to higher valuations, they couldn’t argue that it’s less than any amount below the minimum.

The proposal would also require Bally’s to make a “good faith effort” to meet the city’s goals of giving about a third of the contracting work to minority-owned businesses and a 10th to firms owned by women.

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The city’s special casino committee is meeting Friday and could vote on the agreement, which could be changed from the version circulated to aldermen on Tuesday.

Bally’s, the winner over two other casino finalists, also agreed to pay $40 million to the city upfront after the agreement is completed and $4 million more of additional annual payments. The city is expecting at least $200 million of annual tax revenue from the project to help cover pension obligations for local firefighters and police officers.

The site is now home to the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, which will be redeveloped to make way for the casino if the project gets approval from the full City Council.

[Crain’s] – Sam Lounsberry