Bally’s Temporary Chicago Casino Open For Business

Written By Cole Rush on September 11, 2023 - Last Updated on October 12, 2023
Bally's temporary casino in Chicago opens.

Chicago’s first-ever casino passed inspections last week and opened its doors to players on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Last week, Bally’s Chicago had to pass trial runs with a small number of testers to receive its license from the Illinois Gaming Board. The casino passed and welcomed its first players on Saturday morning.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, players lined up as early as 6:30 a.m. to be among the first to spin the reels and hit the tables in The Windy City. The casino officially opened at 8 a.m. Players flocked to the casino floor now making its temporary home in the Medinah Temple.

Bally’s Chicago houses nearly 800 slots and more than 50 table games, plus restaurants and bars spread across three floors.

Chicago police and traffic control were present during opening day, hoping to quell some concerns of nearby residents.

Illinois governor says he’s proud to usher in a new era

Bally’s Chicago is the 14th casino to come online in Illinois. Illinois online casinos are still prohibited, but there are efforts underway to change that, hopefully in the near future.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has long been an advocate for expanding gambling options in Illinois. He proved instrumental in legalizing Illinois sports betting, and now he’s proud to welcome Bally’s to Chicago. Pritzker praised Bally’s in a tweet and told Illinoisans the casino would help pay off pension debt while creating hundreds of jobs in the city.

Chicagoans celebrating a first for the city

Among the dozens of players lined up to play at Bally’s, Steven Henry was the first. “I’ve already told Horseshoe goodbye,” he said to WGN News, referencing Horseshoe Casino Hammond in Indiana, a 30- to 60-minute drive from Chicago, depending on traffic.

Players in line seemed generally excited about the casino, with some unable to decide what to play. Blackjack, slots and craps were at the top of many players’ lists.

CBS News interviewed some of the casino’s first customers as well. One casino customer said it’s about time Chicago gets a casino.

“We’ve been overdue … we should’ve had a casino a long time ago.”

Bally’s temporary casino to be open for three years

Bally’s plans to break ground on its permanent River West casino in early 2024. The temporary location will remain open for at least three years until the permanent casino opens. Currently, Bally’s is aiming for a 2026 grand opening, though delays are common with projects of this size.

The temporary casino is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.

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Cole Rush

Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found in gambling publications such as PlayIllinois, iGaming Business, Gaming Today,,, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for and Cole has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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