Federal and Local Investigations Surround Bally’s Acquisition of Chicago Casino License

Federal and municipal authorities are closely examining Bally’s, the gaming business based in Rhode Island, over its acquisition of the much sought-after casino license in Chicago. Bally’s license was obtained through a licensing procedure that is being investigated concurrently by Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg and the US Attorney’s office.

According to sources from real estate news outlet The Real Deal, the federal investigation was prompted by complaints from bidders who were unsuccessful in the casino license process. This has put the subject in the public eye. The federal investigation’s existence was revealed by Alderman Brian Hopkins, who is well-known for his unwavering criticism of former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s handling of the casino proceedings. The US attorney’s office, however, has decided to say nothing more about the situation.

In keeping with her office’s policy of refraining from commenting on ongoing investigations, Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg is carrying out a parallel inquiry at the same time.

Bally’s Response and City Council Approval

Bally’s maintains that it is not aware of any investigation despite the controversy surrounding the corporation, and the city’s Law Department stated that neither they nor the mayor’s office had received subpoenas or requests for information.

According to reports, the investigations were started months ago and call for a thorough analysis of the casino license procedure, including changes to financial transactions and any conflicts of interest with municipal consultants.

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By a resounding 39-5 vote, Bally’s won City Council authority to proceed with the projected $1.7 billion casino project. The project intends to start building on the permanent site as soon as possible, with an anticipated opening in late 2026. It is positioned as a way to reduce the city’s unfunded public employee pension liabilities.

Although some local officials praise the casino proposal as a possible financial lifesaver, addiction treatment professionals voice worries about the expected increase in people seeking assistance for gambling addiction. Although there isn’t a sudden spike in incidents, doctors caution that there is a historical correlation between the growth of gaming establishments and the number of persons seeking treatment for gambling-related disorders.

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