Chicago Mayor: Bally’s Casino Will Help ‘Secure’ The City’s Future

Written By Cole Rush on October 4, 2023 - Last Updated on October 12, 2023
Photo of casino floor at Bally's Chicago casino, which Mayor Brandon Johnson praised at grand opening

Bally’s Chicago casino opened last month. The benchmark opening of Chicago’s first casino is a turning point for the city and Illinois.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson counts himself among those excited for the casino … and the opportunity it brings to the city.

After nearly a month of being open, Bally’s Chicago says it’s seeing customers on the younger side coming through its doors.

Mayor cuts the ribbon at Bally’s Chicago

Bally’s downtown location is just a temporary facility while its permanent River West resort is being built. There are now more than a dozen Illinois casinos. The current location is intended to remain open for approximately three years.

In 2026, Bally’s expects to open its permanent property on Halsted and Chicago Avenue. It is expected to be the largest casino in Illinois. It also gives Bally’s an inside track to offer a mobile gaming option when Illinois online casinos are inevitably legalized.

Johnson had the honor of cutting the ribbon in a ceremony that took place roughly three weeks after the temporary casino at Medinah Temple first opened. During the ceremony, Johnson encouraged Illinois residents to try it out.

“To all of our residents and Illinoisans and everyone else: Please come and – responsibly – spend your money at this casino. This project is going to secure Chicago’s fiscally strong and vibrant future.”

When asked about his favorite game, Johnson had a bit of fun.

“I’m really big on Uno. I’m not sure if that’s going to be there. I talk about how Chicago is the greatest freakin’ city in the world, and for those who did not know, now they know. Attractions like Bally’s continue to show why we are beloved and why we’re a destination for visitors from all over the globe.”

Bally’s is drawing a younger crowd

Soo Kim, Bally’s Corporation chairman, was also present at the ribbon-cutting. He commented on the clientele of the casino since opening. The crowd has been a departure from what Bally’s sees at its other properties.

“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,”

Bally’s Casino is located at 600 N Wabash in the heart of River North. The neighborhood is home to many young professionals, and it’s nestled in a highly trafficked area of the city with easy access to CTA buses and trains.

One such “young professional” is me. I visited the casino last week, and my review will be available at PlayIllinois soon.

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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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