New Gambling Amendment Could Allow Bally’s Temporary Medinah Temple Location to Stay Open Longer Than Planned — CasinoGamesPro.com

First Steps for Bally’s Temporary Casino Establishment at Medinah Temple Get Approved by the Illinois Gambling Regulator

The leaders of the first casino in Chicago revealed that they were in line with the schedule to move out of the temporary Medinah Temple location within three years. However, legislation that is advancing in Springfield could see Bally’s temporary location remain operational well beyond 2026.

On October 24th, the State Senate passed a piece of legislation aimed at bringing some changes to an Illinois gambling law that currently limits the operation of new casinos’ temporary locations to 24 months while the company build a permanent facility. For the time being, operators are given the chance to ask the Illinois Gaming Board for a 12-month extension, and Bally’s did so in October when its request to keep the Medinah Temple site open through September 9th, 2026 was approved by the regulatory body.

However, under a new bill sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham, casino companies would be able to turn to regulators and ask for an extension of their temporary locations’ operating permits by any period of time that is considered appropriate or necessary by the Illinois Gaming Board. The piece of legislation is expected to be taken up by the Illinois House during the veto session of the General Assembly.

The bill’s sponsor shared that the proposed amendment was suggested at the request of Waukegan officials, where Full House Resorts Inc. has been forced to postpone the construction of its permanent casino venue while a legal action from another bidder has attacked the project. As Senator Cunningham shared, Bally’s lobbyists were not involved in the legislation but still acknowledged that the bill’s flexible language could help Bally’s casino project at some point.

Bally’s Officials Remain Confident in Meeting the supposed Timeline of the Casino Project

For the time being, a representative of Bally’s has not commented on the proposed bill, which also includes several other changes in the gambling law that were passed without debate by the state’s Senate with 50 to 7 votes.

The author of the new piece of legislation shared that he was not expecting any obstacles in the House of Representatives, where the bill is sponsored by State Representative Lisa Hernandez.

Under the provisions of Bally’s agreement with Tribune Publishing, the company would not be allowed to break ground on its permanent casino site until July 2024. This means that the US gambling giant will have only a bit over two years to finalize its mega-casino and hotel in Chicago that is planned to be built on 505,000 square feet.

In October, Mark Wong, the general manager of Bally’s Chicago faced questions regarding the tight deadline of the project. At the time, Mr. Wong shared that the company remains confident it would be able to meet the timeline although the project is huge and would take about two, two-and-a-half years to complete. As CasinoGamesPro reported a week ago, Bally’s executives said they remained confident that the casino project’s opening in September 2026 remains on track.

Author: Edward Adams