Mid-September Debut Possible for Bally’s Temporary Casino in Chicago

Published: August 24, 2023, 05:06h.

Last Updated: August 24, 2023, 05:06h.

The highly anticipated opening of Bally’s temporary Chicago casino could be just around the corner, potentially launching shortly after the Labor Day holiday on September 4.

Medinah Temple
The Medinah Temple, which will be home to Bally’s temporary Chicago casino. The gaming venue could be open by mid-September. (Image: Friedman Properties)

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) officials will conduct an inspection of the Medinah Temple, the site of the temporary casino, on September 5. The following two days will be dedicated to practice gaming sessions that are not open to the general public. If everything goes smoothly, the venue is expected to open on Saturday, September 9.

While practice gaming sessions are important for operators and not to be underestimated, the state’s newer gaming properties have been allowed to commence operations soon after regulatory visits. This includes the Golden Nugget in Danville and Full House Resorts’ The Temporary in Waukegan.

If the temporary casino opens in early to mid-September, it would represent a slight delay from previous projections of being operational this month. However, Bally’s recently revised its timeline, stating that September is now more likely.

Bally’s Continues Progress in Chicago

The Medinah Temple property will act as a temporary venue until the construction of the permanent integrated resort is completed. Situated at 600 N. Wabash Ave., the Temple has had various uses over the past 111 years but has been inactive since 2020.

The Medinah Temple casino is a precursor to Bally’s $1.7 billion permanent integrated resort in Chicago, which is the city’s first of its kind and the company’s most expensive project to date, with an expected opening in 2026.

The permanent gaming venue will be located at the Freedom Center, a 30-acre riverfront property currently occupied by Tribune Publishing. In exchange for financial compensation, Tribune Publishing will vacate the building in July 2024, allowing Bally’s to begin construction next year.

Bally’s, based in Rhode Island, recently informed analysts and investors that it anticipates the temporary casino to generate monthly profits of $3.5 million to $5 million, equating to up to $60 million annually. The Medinah Temple casino could also create around 700 jobs.

Timing is Key for Bally’s and the City

The sooner Bally’s can commence gaming operations at the Medinah Temple, the better it will be for both the company and the city of Chicago. Not only will the revenue and profits from the temporary casino benefit the operator, but the venue will also serve as a platform for Bally’s to develop and directly market to a customer database in the Chicago area.

For the city and the state of Illinois, the earlier the temporary and permanent casinos are operational and generating revenue, the faster they can benefit from much-needed tax receipts. These venues are seen as crucial in addressing Chicago’s significant firefighter and police pension obligations.

The temporary casino is projected to generate $55 million in annual tax revenue for Chicago, while Bally’s permanent venue is expected to contribute $200 million per year to the city, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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