Penn Entertainment Inc. of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Hollywood Casino Aurora in Aurora, Illinois, on Nov. 29. The land-based casino, hotel, and entertainment facility will replace the company’s nearby riverboat casino when completed.
The $360 million regional destination is being developed adjacent to the Chicago Premium Outlets, which attracts over eight million visitors annually, and is conveniently located near Interstate 88 in Aurora. The best-in-class facility will feature roughly 1,200 gaming positions, 220 guest rooms, a retail sportsbook, an outdoor entertainment area, a full-service spa, high-quality bars and restaurants, a 12,000-square-foot event center with meeting areas, and 1,700 parking spaces. Penn Entertainment expects to create 700 construction jobs and 700 permanent jobs at the new facility, nearly doubling the number of company team members in Aurora.
“We are thrilled to soon begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art Hollywood Casino Aurora,” says Jay Snowden, CEO and president of Penn Entertainment. “Our tremendous and long-lasting partnership with the City of Aurora has provided an opportunity to relocate our property to an ideal location that will significantly improve our offerings and further our positive economic impact on the community.”
The Aurora development included the transfer of certain parcels of land from the city, and up to $50 million of the project will be funded by the city through a new bond issuance. The move onto land was predicated by a law signed in 2019 that allowed for riverboat casinos to relocate to land. The existing Hollywood Casino Aurora, which is located on the Fox River in downtown Aurora, will maintain its normal operations while the new land-based facility is constructed, which is anticipated to take 24 months.
“We look forward to celebrating this important milestone with our team members and many key stakeholders that have helped bring us to this point,” says Greg Moore, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino Aurora. “This is an exciting start to our next chapter, and we cannot wait to welcome residents and visitors of Chicagoland to the new Hollywood Casino Aurora when completed.”
The new Hollywood Casino Aurora is part of a previously announced plan consisting of four new growth projects in Joliet, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; and Henderson, Nevada. Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. has committed up to $575 million toward the overall $850 million budget for all four growth projects.