The first casino in Chicago could start operation soon after Labor Day in case practice gaming sessions, which are set to be held at Bally’s temporary Medinah Temple venue shortly after the holiday, go according to plan.
As officially announced by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB), local regulatory bodies are set to inspect the operation of River North on September 5th and oversee the aforementioned practice gaming sessions on September 6th and 7th.
The casino could open its doors to visitors by the weekend of September 9th, based on the timelines of other casino venues that have already started operation in Illinois since the massive gambling expansion was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019. However, that would be possible only in case Bally’s manages get the nod from the administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, Marcus Fruchter, who is the one who has the final say on the company’s temporary operating permit. As explained by Beth Kaufman, the spokesperson of the state’s gambling regulator, Administrator Fruchter is set to determine whether and to what extent gambling can be allowed at Medinah Temple based on the results of the operations audit and the practice gaming sessions.
For the time being, Bally’s has not commented on the casino launch plans. During a quarterly earnings call that took place earlier in August, some executives of the company noted that a September launch is targeted, a modest delay from the mid-August target that was set by the company’s Chairman Soo Kim in June, when Bally’s got preliminary approval from the state authorities.
Permanet Bally’s Casino Expected to Start Operation in Chicago in 2026
As reported by CasinoGamesPro, Bally’s got selected from the four bidders for the casino license by Former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who pushed the company’s project through the Chicago City Council in the spring of 2022. Ms. Lightfoot initially wanted to see the temporary casino to be up and running by the first half of 2023 so that the city could start gaining financial benefits from the project as soon as possible.
However, market experts believe that mid-September 2023 seems to be the safer and more logical opening deadline for the Chicago casino.
So far, three other casinos across the state have already been introduced as a result of the state’s gambling expansion.
Bally’s is set to rely on the Medinah Temple temporary casino for up to three years, while the gambling giant finalizes the construction of its permanent $1.7-billion casino project at the River West site. Medinah Temple, on the other hand, has been refurbished and prepared to host about 50 table games and 750 slot machines. According to preliminary expectations shared by Bally’s executives, the temporary property is expected to generate a monthly profit of between $3.5 million and $5 million through the end of 2023, with that figure being expected to rise to up to $60 million for the full year of 2024.
City officials, on the other hand, are expecting annual tax revenue of about $55 million from Medinah temple, as well as almost $200 million annually from the permanent casino that is expected to start operation in 2026, featuring 3,400 slot machines. If everything goes well, the permanent facility could generate over $800 million every year by 2028.