Permanent facility to open in 2026

Chicago: Bally's temporary casino at Medinah Temple holds ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Johnson in attendance

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Bally’s temporary Medinah Temple gambling hall in Chicago hosted an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning, marking the historic opening of the city's first and only casino. Company leaders and elected officials were present, including Mayor Brandon Johnson, who helped cut the ceremonial ribbon.

"The gaming revenue taxes will support our city police and fire pension fund. This is more than just an entertainment venue, though. This project is going to secure Chicago's physically strong and vibrant future," Johnson said.

The Rhode Island-based company has transformed the Medinah Temple facility to house approximately 750 slot machines and 50 table games. Bally's is employing a workforce of 700 employees to facilitate operations at this site.

"We're finding a slightly different crowd right now than the typical casino would do. It's a younger crowd, a very heavy table game crowd, so you know I think that has to do with the people that work and live around here," said Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally's Corporation, as reported by ABC7 Chicago News.

The temporary casino is envisioned to remain operational for a duration of up to three years. During this interim period, Bally's will concurrently construct their permanent casino at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Streets. Bally's hopes to open the permanent casino by early 2026, featuring 3,400 slots and 170 table games. Moreover, Bally’s has said the permanent gambling venue will generate upward of $800 million per year. 

As a sign of goodwill and thank you to the city, Bally's Chicago announced charitable donations to three local nonprofit organizations from the proceeds raised during the casino's rehearsal events, held in early September.

The Chicago casino was the crown jewel of the statewide gambling expansion law that Gov. J.B. Pritzker championed in 2019 to help fund his signature $45 billion capital infrastructure improvement plan.

Four other casinos have opened since then, bringing Illinois’ roster to 15, with another on the way in the south suburbs. The law also introduced sports betting and expanded the state’s network of more than 45,000 slot machines in gas stations, bars and other establishments. 

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