Bally’s Chicago Casino
Bally’s Chicago Casino opened its temporary casino on September 9, 2023, and will operate for at least three years until the company’s permanent property opens.
The temporary Bally’s Chicago casino is in the former Medinah Temple in the River North neighborhood. Conveniently located off the CTA red line and numerous bus routes, it allows Chicagoans and visitors to gamble in the heart of the city.
The Illinois casino is a 34,000-square-foot complex occupying three floors. Players can enjoy nearly 800 slots and 56 table games. A retail sportsbook is expected to open in the near future.
Though it lacks an attached hotel or parking garage, Bally’s Chicago is located in an easily accessible neighborhood for locals and visitors alike.
You must present a valid ID and be over 21 to enter Bally’s Chicago.
Bally’s Chicago, at a glance
- Address: 600 N Wabash, Chicago, IL, 60611
- Owner: Albert M. Friedman
- Operator: Bally’s
- Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.
- Casino games: Nearly 800 slots, 56 table games
- Sportsbook: Planned (not yet open)
- Poker room: No
of Gold Coins for $10
When will the permanent Bally’s Chicago Casino open?
Currently, Bally’s plans to break ground on its permanent Chicago casino in 2024 ahead of a 2026 grand opening. Barring delays, Chicagoans can look forward to a much bigger property than the current temporary casino.
The permanent casino will be located on a 30-acre lot on Halsted and Chicago Avenue, formerly home to The Chicago Tribune. A 3,000-seat theater, a 505,000-square-foot hotel tower, and a massive gaming floor will headline the campus.
The project is in the very early stages of development. We’ll update this page as new information about the permanent casino is released.
Bally’s Chicago timeline
The build-up to Bally’s Chicago opening its temporary property was a veritable roller coaster. Here’s a look at the property’s history.
- September 2023: The temporary casino at Medinah Temple opens for business.
- August 2023: Bally’s says Medinah Temple will likely open in mid-September.
- July 2023: Bally’s signs go up at the Medinah Temple.
- June 2023: The Illinois Gaming Board gives Bally’s preliminary approval to open a temporary casino at the Medinah Temple location in River North.
- May 2023: Bally’s announces it will begin construction on the permanent casino in 2024. The same month, it releases updated renderings and begins offering Chicago minorities an ownership stake in the casino.
- February 2023: The IGB approves supplier licenses for both the owner of the land and the Medinah Temple that will play host to the temporary Bally’s casino.
- Dec. 14, 2022: Chicago City Council grants zoning approval for Bally’s Chicago in River West. Bally’s still requires approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.
- Nov. 21, 2022: Bally’s closed on a $200 million deal this month to purchase the Freedom Center printing plant site from Nexstar Media Group. The facility, which currently prints the Chicago Tribune, will be the site of the permanent casino.
- Oct. 17, 2022: Bally’s signs a deal with organized labor to build the casino.
- Sept. 12, 2022: Bally’s applies for an Illinois sportsbook license.
- Sept. 9, 2022: Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the formation of a council that aims to gather community input regarding the construction, which plans to open a temporary casino in River North before the permanent location opens in River West.
- May 5, 2022: Lori Lightfoot chooses the winning casino bidder for the city of Chicago.
- April 5, 2022: There will be three community meetings this week to discuss each proposed Chicago casino location.
- March 22, 2022: Chicago eliminates two of the five casino proposals. Bally’s Tribune, Hard Rock and Rivers 78 remain.
- 2021: Chicago set a request for proposals deadline for Aug. 23. Chicago began to hear negative feedback from casino operators and extended the deadline to Oct. 29. Five bids finally rolled in at the deadline and were presented to the public in December 2021.
- 2020: In May, Amendment 5 became law and revised the Chicago casino’s tax code. The city puts out an RFI for a downtown casino site.
- 2019: In June, Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill authorizing a Chicago casino. In August, Union Gaming Analytics released its study, specified five specific locations, and deemed the tax structure untenable. In November, Bob Rita introduced the first amendment to adjust the tax code for the Chicago casino.
Casino games at Bally’s Chicago
Bally’s Chicago is home to nearly 800 slot machines and 50 table games. The games are spread across three expansive floors in the 34,000-square-foot building.
The first floor is home to most of the casino’s slots and some video poker machines. Floor 2 is a blend of tables and slots. The third floor is home to more table games, a small smattering of slots, a sportsbook, and a restaurant.
Bally’s Chicago slots
With more than 700 slots on offer, Bally’s Chicago has something for every player who likes to spin the reels. Popular titles available include:
- Dancing Drums
- Piggy Bankin’
- Invaders Attack From The Planet Moolah
- Stinkin’ Rich Skunks Gone Wild
- All Aboard Gold Express
Bally’s Chicago offers various denominations, from penny slots to games that allow maximum bets of $100.
Table games at Bally’s Chicago
Table games are spread over two floors at Bally’s Chicago. You’ll find all the staples: craps, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. Plenty of other games are offered as well, including Mississippi Stud and Let It Ride.
Bally’s Chicago boasts a grand total of 56 table games, though the number of games open on a given day will depend on the time and customer volume.
Bally’s Rewards program
Players in Chicago can sign up for Bally’s Rewards to earn points and redeem them for perks. The program includes four levels, which you can reach by spending money at Bally’s:
- Pro: 0 to 3,999 points
- Star: 4,000 to 14,999 points
- Superstar: 15,000 points
- Legend: By invite only
Bally Bucks are earned by playing slots or table games. Players can redeem them for the following perks:
- 200 Bally Bucks: $1 free slot play
- 100 Bally Bucks: $1 dining credit
Food and drink options at Bally’s Chicago
On the first floor, the Wabash Cafe offers grab-and-go food options. Floor one hosts the massive center bar, while floor three is home to the bistro bar. Servers walk the casino floor taking drink orders as well.
Kitchen 888 is a noodle bar inspired by Asian Street Food. It’s on the casino’s second floor and serves various dishes with Asian flair.
On the third floor, you’ll find the Medinah Bistro. It serves an eclectic mix of comfort food.
Players will also find no shortage of other dining options outside the casino. Chicago’s food scene is thriving, and River North is home to some of the city’s best eats.
Hotels and parking
Bally’s Chicago doesn’t have a hotel (though the permanent property will). However, plenty of hotels are located within walking distance of the casino.
Parking garages are plentiful in the area surrounding Bally’s Chicago. We recommend using SpotHero or a similar app to get a good rate, otherwise, you’ll pay full price.
Getting to Bally’s without driving is easy. The Grand CTA stop is steps away, and various bus routes drop you off close to the casino.
What’s the tax structure for Bally’s Chicago?
Since the project’s inception, the city and the state have planned to tax the casino’s revenue aggressively. A Union Gaming Analytics study performed in August 2019 ascertained that a downtown Chicago casino could produce billions of dollars of revenue. However, it also determined that such a facility would not profit, given the original tax structure.
Like with many other casinos, revenue would face a graduated tax. The actual rates and thresholds made it so that the casino would have effectively paid 72% of its aggregate gross revenue to the city and state. With only 28% of what it took in after comps and other tax rebates left to cover its expenses, having something to show for the business’ operation would have proven extremely difficult. For that reason, IL lawmakers worked to adjust the tiers in late May.
The amendment to the Illinois gambling law did not drop the rates for a Chicago casino. It did, however, raise the tiers for each graduated rate significantly. For example, instead of paying a top rate of 74.7% on monthly slot revenue over $200 million, that rate now only applies to slot revenue of more than $1 billion in a month.
Here is the table for slot taxes:
|Adjusted Gross Revenue||State||City||Total|
|$25 million-$50 million||16%||14%||30%|
|$50 million-$75 million||20.1%||17.4%||37.5%|
|$75 million-$100 million||21.4%||18.6%||40%|
|$100 million-$150 million||22.7%||19.8%||42.5%|
|$150 million-$225 million||24.1%||20.9%||45%|
|$225 million-$1 billion||26.8%||23.2%||50%|
The tax tiers for table games also increased with the latest legal wrangling. Again, the aim was to reduce the overall liability without dropping the rates themselves.
|Adjusted Gross Revenue||State||City||Total|
|$25 million-$75 million||10.7%||8.4%||19.1%|
|$75 million-$175 million||11.2%||9.8%||21%|
|$175 million-$225 million||13.5%||11.5%||25%|
|$225 million-$275 million||15.1%||12.9%||28%|
|$275 million-$375 million||16.2%||13.8%||30%|