Skip to main content

Illinois Gaming Board Unanimously Approves Bally’s Permanent Chicago Casino License

Recently, state gambling regulators have given the nod to a full operating license to Bally’s for its Chicago casino project. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) unanimously voted in favor of the license for the soon-to-be-constructed mega-casino project that is set to be hosted in River West.

Now, the license approval paved the way for the establishment of the permanent casino venue, which has been estimated to be worth approximately $1.7 billion and is set to start operation by September 2026. The exact opening date depends on the three-year time limit on the temporary casino license at the iconic Medinah Temple site, but the general manager of Bally’s Chicago, Mark Wong, informed the members of the Illinois Gaming Board that the company remains confident it will be able to meet its timeline in line with the plans.

The company has until September 9th, 2026, to complete the construction of its 505,000-square-foot casino complex in River West.

As CasinoGamesPro reported, Bally’s Medinah Temple location started operation under the provisions of its temporary license in September. Currently, casino operators in Illinois have the right to operate temporary locations for two years, with an optional 12-month expansion, while their permanent casino site is being constructed.

The permanent River West location of the US casino giant is the first urban casino in Chicago. The gambling and entertainment complex is set to include a gambling venue featuring 173 table games and 3,400 slots. There will also be a 500-room hotel tower and a 3,000-seat theater. Bally’s project was the one that won the approval of former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over three competitive bids in 2022.

Bally’s Temporary Casino Location in Medinah Temple Currently in the Spotlight

The permanent casino location of Bally’s is expected to start in July 2024. Until then, it is the company’s temporary casino that remains in the spotlight.

In its first few weeks of operation, the Medinah Temple casino site attracted about 80,000 visitors who in their turn accounted for revenue of approximately $6.7 million. The venue, hosted by the historic location, offers 56 table games and approximately 800 slot machines.

According to gambling regulators in Illinois, it has already generated city tax revenue of about $695,000. Previously, the ex-Mayor of the city, Ms. Lightfoot, shared expectations that the Medinah Temple location would bring in up to $12.8 million to Chicago by the end of 2023.

Bally’s temporary casino in Chicago also got some social media attention because of its Moorish Revival-style construction from 1912 which pretty much resembles a mosque.

The city of Chicago counts on about $32 million from the Medinah Temple location in 2024. The three-year operation of Bally’s temporary location is expected to create as many as 700 jobs. On the other hand, the company is set to open thousands of construction jobs during the construction of its permanent location in River West, with about $200 million set to go to the city every year.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.