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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Hollywood Casino Aurora Goes Dockside

9 April 2002

Hollywood Casino Aurora became the second Chicago-area riverboat gambling property to go dockside with the grand opening on Feb. 15 of the first phase of its $78.2 million permanent single-level casino project.

The attractive new casino replaces the smaller of Hollywood's sister gaming vessels, the City of Lights II. It houses 453 slot machines, including 150 new machines, 20 table games, and a six-table live poker room. It will also feature Hollywood's high limit slot and high limit table game areas, as well as 14 new cashier windows.

When the second phase of the project is completed in June, the new casino will house all of Hollywood's 1,200 gaming positions. Until then, the balance of the property's 624 slot machines and 21 table games will remain on the first two levels of the "big boat," the City of Lights I, which will be accessible from the new development.

Chicago-area casino gambling enthusiasts were first introduced to single-level dockside gaming last year at Harrah's Joliet. As is the case with that development, patrons of Hollywood's new casino will appreciate the wider aisles, higher ceilings, and a state-of-the-art air filtration system to alleviate the poor air quality that can be found aboard the restricted confines of riverboat casinos.

When Hollywood's ambitious dockside project is completed this summer, it will truly be unlike any casino experience in the Chicago-area. The property's gaming floor space will increase by approximately 80 percent, an encouraging statistic in the event the State Legislature ever lifts the 1,200 gaming position limit at Illinois casinos.

Work is being conducted full tilt on construction of a new Epic Buffet, which will be situated in an area between the twin single-level dockside gaming facilities. The new buffet will increase seating capacity by approximately 27 percent and will feature serving "stations" rather than the present cafeteria style line. The buffet has been moved to another part of the pavilion until the new Epic Buffet reopens sometime in May.

As another part of the second half of the project, a new Take Two Snack Bar will open on the first floor of the pavilion in the area previously occupied by Louie Dombrowski's 50's Style Diner. Louie's has been relocated to the third floor of the pavilion with an expanded menu that will accent Chinese dishes after 4 p.m. Hollywood's upscale steakhouse, The Fairbanks, will remain at its present location on the fourth level of the pavilion. Seven Fortunes, the property's popular Asian cuisine specialty restaurant, will move adjacent to The Fairbanks in an area previously occupied by banquet facilities.

A final aspect of the multi-million dollar upgrade is the construction of a new parking lot on a newly acquired tract on River Street. The new facility will increase Hollywood's parking capacity by approximately 30 percent and will be connected directly to the new dockside casino via a covered walk-over bridge.

Fans of the "movie motif" of the Hollywood, whose parent corporation owns and maintains one of the largest memorabilia collections in the world, will be glad to learn the museum quality experience of the pavilion will remain a major part of the new development.

Next Week: A conversation with Edward T. Pratt III, Hollywood Casino Corporation's chairman, president, and chief operating officer.

Autographed copies of my two books, "Thrifty Gambling" and "Insiders Guide to Gambling on the Internet", are available for the priority postage paid price of $13.50 each or both books for $25.00 by sending check or money order to John-Jet Publications, P.O. Box 1023, North Riverside, Illinois 60546.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp