The Illinois Gaming Board granted Bally’s Chicago a full-fledged license to operate through 2026 Thursday. The license will allow Bally’s Chicago — a temporary casino in the Medinah Temple — to operate for another three years.
The gaming establishment opened its property last month after the company received a temporary permit from the Illinois Gaming Board, bringing the total amount of Illinois casinos to 15. Barring any major issues, a full license was practically a sure thing, and now that has become a reality.
What does this mean for Bally’s in Chicago?
Well, it’s certainly good news. Bally’s Chicago plans to open its permanent casino in River West in 2026. The company will break ground on the complex in 2024.
This might beg the question: What happens if the permanent Bally’s Casino is delayed? Construction projects of its size are no stranger to delays of all sorts: zoning problems, local opposition, logistical obstacles, and, of course, it simply takes a long time to build a gargantuan casino, especially in the middle of Chicago.
Should Bally’s permanent property be delayed, the Illinois Gaming Board and Bally’s could work together to extend the license further. Otherwise, it’s possible Chicago will go without a casino between the time when the Medinah Temple’s license expires and the new casino opens.
Since opening in September, Bally’s Chicago has made waves in the city and beyond.
Shortly after the property opened its doors, it was mired in controversy when some groups incorrectly assumed it was constructed in a former mosque.
A few weeks later, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson praised the casino, saying it would help secure Chicago’s future. He also had some fun during his statement, asking whether Bally’s offered Uno.
One month after it opened, I visited the casino and wrote a full review. The next day, revenue reports indicated that Bally’s Chicago ranked sixth in Illinois after being open for only three weeks.