Bally’s Moves Back Opening Date Of Temporary Casino In Chicago

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on August 4, 2023
Exterior Street View of Medinah Temple, Chicago, Illinois with Bally's logo

Bally’s expects to open its temporary Chicago casino sometime in September, a few weeks later than initially suggested. Bally’s officials originally aimed for a mid-August opening at the historic Medinah Temple, a former Bloomingdale’s.

The board’s finding of “preliminary suitability” allowed Bally’s to start moving slots and table games, but it still needs to receive the final green light from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

As the IGB spokeswoman Beth Kaufman told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday, the agency “continues to work with Bally’s Chicago to open the temporary casino at Medinah Temple in an ethical, compliant and efficient manner.”

IGB found Bally’s preliminarily suitable for a Chicago casino license

The Illinois Gaming Board approved Bally’s project in June. The IGB’s four members met in Chicago and voted 4-0 to find Bally’s preliminarily suitable for licensure.

Although the approval was the first step in launching Medinah casino, it does not guarantee the IGB will award Bally’s either a temporary or permanent license.

Bally’s has been remodeling the old 130,000-square-foot building since January. Once completed, Medinah Temple will serve as a temporary casino for up to three years. By next year, city officials are counting on up to $55 million in annual tax revenue from Medinah.

Bally’s Chicago General Manager Mike Wong said he anticipates that the Medinah Temple temporary casino will offer:

  • Multiple dining options
  • 750-800 slot machines
  • More than 50 gaming tables

The final hurdle, however, remains a gaming test run on-site, which could happen soon.

Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim told Chicago Tribune Thursday: “It’s done, all the machines are installed. We’re in testing and regulatory mode. We’re just waiting to get through the final process so we can share it with the city of Chicago.”

Bally’s said it received more than 11,000 job applications for the 700 positions it was filling at Medinah.

Bally’s permanent Chicago casino location opens second half of 2026

Meanwhile, Bally’s plans to build the $1.74 billion permanent casino at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street.

Bally’s acquired the 30-acre site from Nexstar Media for $200 million. Construction won’t begin until at least July 2024, and the gambling corporation plans to open the permanent location sometime in 2026.

City executives are aiming for $200 million per year from the permanent casino at the River West site of the Chicago Tribune printing plant.

Photo by Medinah Temple / illustrated by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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