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🎰 Bally’s casino town hall cheat sheet

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


The newly announced Bally’s casino in River West has stirred up mixed feelings from City Council members and Chicagoans alike.

Here’s what you need to know about the winning bid and all the controversy ahead of a community town hall at UIC Dorin Forum Thursday from 7–9 p.m.

First, the deets

Bally’s / City of Chicago

Location: Tribune Publishing Plant

Expected annual revenue: $200 million

Features: 170 table games. 3,400 slots. 500-room hotel. Outdoor music venue. Riverwalk extension.

Where do alders stand? Depends where they live. Nearby alders were vocal at a six-hour meeting Monday, the Sun-Times reported. 

❌ Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, compared the city’s efforts to expedite the casino approval process to the hurried nature of the disastrous parking meter privatization deal. Reilly also opposes the temporary casino at Medinah Temple in the River North part of his ward because of more traffic. 

❌ Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, also questioned the timeline and said Bally’s was “pre-determined to be the winners of this charade.” 

✅ Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward, supports Bally’s proposal for jobs, security, and economic stimulus. The permanent casino would be in his ward.

How do residents feel? We want to know. Many who attended the April town hall opposed Bally’s proposal, but Burnett said a “silent majority” of his constituents will support it, Block Club Chicago reported.

❓ River West/North residents, tell us what you think. Are you for Bally’s casino? Against? Why? Reply, or text/call (773) 780-0246.

🎧 Tommy Henry of the “Chicago History Podcast” tells us about Bally’s decades-long Chicago history — from pinball machines to gyms to casinos.


▪️ With a tentative reward map agreement underway, social media users are pointing out the funky shapes of the proposed 36th Ward, a seven-mile diagonal stretch along Grand from Damen to Oak Park Avenues. Some see a pool noodle, water slide, Q-tip, or hockey stick! [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ Ald. Ray Lopez of the 15th Ward hasn’t made a mortgage payment on a Southwest Side property in almost a decade, according to a lawsuit. The mayoral candidate allegedly owes almost $42,000. Lopez said he is handling the issue and refinancing the loan. [WGN]

▪️ President Joe Biden will be in Chicago today to speak at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International Convention at the McCormick Place. [NBC Chicago]

▪️ Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Keegan-Michael Key are only some of the stars on Second City’s new advisory board, chaired by Stephen Colbert, who shared his vision for the future of his improv alma mater with us last year. [Chicago Sun-Times; City Cast]

▪️ There are more than 70 farmers markets across the city and burbs, which could be cheaper than inflation–affected grocery store goods. [WBEZ]


Readers and listeners shared more ways for how they’d better the city’s buses and trains.

💨 B.F. said, “Invest in aromatherapy for post-COVID purposes, which could potentially relieve stress and have healing components.” 

🚨 Dom said, “Real cops — doing arrests.”


We’re lucky to be informed by many smart and empathetic Chicago journalists who handle all types of stories with care everyday. It’s wonderful to see them recognized for their work, many of whom are friends of the pod. 

Here’s a taste of some of the accolades: 

Pulitzer: The Better Government Association and Chicago Tribune for the series on the city’s failed building and fire safety–code enforcement. 

Lisagor: WBEZ for investigating lifeguard abuse at the Park District. The Triibe for community coverage of the city’s South Side tennis fest. Block Club Chicago for the “Year of Loss” series. 

Studs Terkel: Injustice Watch’s Maya Maya Dukmasova and South Side Weekly’s Jacqueline Serrato for diverse coverage. Historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas for uplifting voices. (Tune into the ceremony Thursday!)

👉 Want to support local newsrooms? Subscribe, become a member, and read/share their work. Donate to the Save Chicago Media campaign.

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