🤑 JOLIET`S 1ST FLOATING CASINO DROPS ANCHOR - Chicago Tribune

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Harrah's Joliet Casino: The Boat - See traveller reviews, 41 candid photos, and great deals for Joliet, IL, at Tripadvisor.


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When you visit Harrah's Joliet, you'll experience the fun, friendly Chicago casino by Caesars Entertainment, where you're always welcome to Come Out and.


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The launching last week of the Chicago-area`s first floating casino Another Joliet boat, this one to be docked downtown, is expected to cruise schedule last Wednesday after being approved by the Illinois Gaming Board.


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The first public cruise is scheduled for July 1, pending final approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. Operators hope the Empress will syphon off.


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The first public cruise is scheduled for July 1, pending final approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. Operators hope the Empress will syphon off.


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Mike Saville commented on the Chicago proposal: ''We feel the law allowing riverboat gambling was put in place to help the river towns. And next June two identical gaming craft are scheduled to weigh anchor from downtown Aurora on the Fox River, 40 miles west of the Loop. If it can play in Peoria, why not in Joliet and Aurora?{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} A Chicago casino complex would saturate the market, because it would be the equivalent size of 20 riverboats. Larry Sak, president of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that 6 of 10 calls to his office recently have been inquiries about riverboat gambling. The foot-long craft will be outfitted with slot machines and 25 gaming tables, and is scheduled to make six daily cruises when it gets underway next April. Many buyers are coming from Du Page and southwest Cook County because of our good values. However, he acknowledged that the Chicago proposal put a temporary freeze on the Aurora project and was part of the reason for delaying its launching from this fall to next summer. Fisher stressed, though, that Joliet had planned to redevelop its downtown in , before Illinois approved riverboat gambling. Mayor Pierce of Aurora said that studies have shown that the Chicago area could support 8 to 10 riverboats. Another Joliet boat, this one to be docked downtown, is expected to be launched next spring. Looking as sleek as a yacht from a James Bond movie, the foot-long Empress began a limited cruise schedule last Wednesday after being approved by the Illinois Gaming Board. Aurora is considering giving a third of each dollar to the theater, owned by the Aurora Civic Center Authority; a third to the Riverwalk Commission; and a third to neighborhood programs. Because our riverboat will offer a different type of experience, we think it could co- exist with land-based casinos. Certain to be ''winners'' every day are the new Empress employees. Gaming revenue is seen as a way to revitalize their old, tired downtowns. The historic Paramount Arts Centre, about a block from the dock, also is expected to help attract visitors because it will feature big-name acts, according to Weidner of Pratt Hotels. The two river towns are hoping to hit the jackpot with riverboat gambling. Full operation will be inaugurated June 28, according to Sabo. They will cruise between two bridges on the Fox River that are a mile apart. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}It also raised the hopes of two suburbs: Joliet and Aurora. Let the games begin-the games of chance. Key elements of the downtown resurgence will be increased use of the historic Rialto Square Theatre renovated in and new restaurants to be developed in the recently rehabbed Union Station. The Empress is sure to benefit from being first on the water. Several facilities, including an auto dealership and a fire station, will have to be relocated to make way for the boat basin, which will be cut into the shore at the three-square-block gambling boat site. In contrast to the modern flair of the Joliet riverboats, Aurora has opted for the lure of yesteryear. The foot-long craft will be built at the Garbe Iron Works in Aurora, and are scheduled to be completed by mid-June of , according to Hanson. The three-tier riverwalk will include the street level, a midlevel with shops and restaurants and lower level for walking and biking. The Empress River Casino Corp. Aurora Ald. Also, revitalization of the city center could spread out to older neighborhoods. Already millions of dollars have been committed to the construction of docking facilities and riverside improvements in both cities. We urge the legislature to oppose land-based casinos in Chicago and give the river towns a chance, as the law intended,'' she said. But no matter what happens in Chicago, it appears suburban riverboat gambling is steaming full speed ahead. Hungry gamblers will be catered to in the four-level, 64,square-foot docking pavilion on the tip of Stolp Island. According to Fisher, Joliet is considering splitting its gaming revenue between neighborhood infrastructure rehab and downtown rehab. Several experts think the outlook is good, pointing to the Par-A-Dice, the 1,passenger sternwheeler that opened in Peoria last November and has exceeded expectations. Spinoffs from the gambling-driven boom in tourism could benefit new restaurants, shops and hotels, and increase property values. The 1,seat Paramount was built in as a premier movie palace of that era. The Rivertowns Coalition has been formed to oppose the Chicago plan. Highway 6, southwest of downtown but within the city limits. Paul Borek, executive director of the Aurora Economic Development Commission, anticipates that riverboat gambling will create to 1, new jobs in Aurora. Weidner said Pratt might be interested in rehabbing the old Aurora Hotel, a vacant eight-story structure near the gaming center that is not included in the first phase of development. Cruises will head down river three to four miles and will last two hours, though gaming begins a half-hour before departure and continues a half-hour after return.