Bally’s Temporary Chicago Casino Could Open in Early September

Posted on: August 24, 2023, 05:06h. 

Last updated on: August 25, 2023, 09:55h.

The long-awaited debut of Bally’s temporary Chicago casino could arrive soon after the Labor Day holiday on September 4.

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

Officials from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) will inspect Medinah Temple, the site of the temporary casino, on September 5. The following two days will be comprised of practice gaming sessions that aren’t open to the general public. If all goes well, the venue could open on Saturday, September 9.

Practice gaming sessions are more than mere formalities, and are not to be taken lightly by operators. However, newer gaming properties in Illinois have been permitted to commence business soon after those visits by regulators. Those include the Golden Nugget in Danville and Full House Resorts’ The Temporary in Waukegan.

Should Bally’s temporary casino open in early to mid-September, it would represent a modest delay from the prior forecast of having the venue operational by this month. Bally’s recently updated that projection, noting September was more likely.

Bally’s Keeps Forging Ahead in Chicago

The Medinah Temple property will be used until the permanent venue is constructed. Located at 600 N. Wabash Ave., the Temple has had multiple uses since being constructed 111 years ago, but has sat idle since 2020.

The Medinah Temple venue is a prelude to the operator’s $1.7 billion permanent integrated resort in Chicago. The casino hotel, which is the first of its kind in the city and Bally’s most expensive project to date, is expected to open in 2026.

The permanent gaming venue will reside at the Freedom Center, a 30-acre riverfront property that Tribune Publishing has occupied. In exchange for cash payments, Tribune Publishing will depart that building in July 2024, allowing Bally’s to commence construction later next year.

Rhode Island-based Bally’s recently told analysts and investors that it expects the temporary casino to turn monthly profits of $3.5 million to $5 million, or up to $60 million annually. The Medinah Temple casino could create as many as 700 jobs.

Sooner, the Better for Bally’s, City

The more rapidly Bally’s can commence gaming operations at Medinah Temple, the better it is for the company and the city of Chicago. Not only will the revenue and profits from the temporary casino help the operator, but the venue will serve as a platform for Bally’s to build a database of customers in the Chicago area and market directly to those prospective clients.

For the city and the state of Illinois, the sooner the temporary and permanent casinos are open and churning out revenue, the sooner those entities can get their hands on much-needed tax receipts. The venues are viewed as essential in shoring up Chicago’s bloated firefighter and police pension obligations.

The temporary casino is expected to generate $55 million in annual receipts for Chicago. In comparison, Bally’s permanent venue is forecast to deliver $200 million per year to the city, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.