Signs Go Up At Bally’s Temporary Chicago Casino Opening Soon

Written By Dave Briggs on July 26, 2023
Doors opening soon at Medinah casino

The first casino in Chicago is gearing up to open before the end of August at the Medinah Temple. Recently, Bally’s signs went up at the site in River North.

Bally’s chairman Soo Kim told CBS Chicago the casino is ready to open.

“We’ve done our work and now the regulators are going in, making sure everything works the way they want it to work,” Kim said. “The doors should be opening soon. It’s pretty exciting.”

Medinah Temple architecture makes it a impressive casino

Given the tremendous architecture and history of the Medinah Temple, the Bally’s casino is shaping up to be an impressive facility.

Chris Jewett, Bally’s director of corporate development told the Chicago Tribune:

“It’s probably the best-looking temporary casino you’ll ever see. [There is] a wow factor just walking in. It’s unique.”

In June, the Illinois Gaming Board determined Bally’s plan for a temporary casino had achieve “preliminary suitability.”  That allowed Bally’s to begin bringing in the gaming equipment. The facility still needs final approval of the IGB to open.

Last month, Bally’s officials took local media on a tour of the newest casino in Illinois. The Medinah Temple will feature 56 live table games and 800 slot machines over three floors. In all, Bally’s Medinah Temple casino will offer a gaming area of some 34,000 square feet. That makes it one of the smallest of the 13 Illinois casinos currently open.

The Medinah Temple casino can accommodate 3,500 guests and will support some 700 jobs.

The casino will be open 24/7 and is expected to operate for three years while the $1.7 billion Bally’s Chicago permanent casino is built in River West.

The permanent casino is expected to support 3,000 jobs. City officials anticipate that the temporary casino will generate $55 million in tax dollars.

A tour of three floors of gaming

Book Club of Chicago reported that Bally’s teamed up with STL Architects to renovate the 111-year-old building located at 600 N. Wabash Ave. The Medinah Temple was most recently used by department store chain Bloomingdales from 2003-2019.

Designers have left the Medinah Temple’s atrium and stained glass windows untouched. The latter will be protected from visitors by partitions. Back-of-house operations will use the original stage and presidium areas.

The first floor will house most of the casino’s slot machines, as well as a large, backlit bar and a cafe.

Up the escalator to the second floor, customers will find the table games, remaining slot machines and cashier cages.

The third floor is for VIPs and high rollers. The games will feature higher stakes and higher payoffs. This floor will also feature two restaurants — one offering casual American food, the other Asian cuisine.

Book Club of Chicago also reported that Bally’s “is also in the early process of possibly installing game machines at Midway and O’Hare airports. Bally’s has been granted exclusive rights for that, but the move will require a separate approval process.”

Construction of permanent casino to begin in 2024

Bally's Chicago updated exterior

Construction on the permanent Bally’s Chicago casino is expected to begin in July of 2024 and take some two years to complete.

When open in 2026, the permanent casino, which updated its renderings in May, will be home to:

  • 3,400 slots
  • 173 table games
  • A 500-room hotel
  • Six restaurants
  • Three bars
  • A 3,000-seat entertainment venue, rooftop space, pools
Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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