Bally's Eyes September 2026 to Unveil $1.7B Permanent Casino in Chicago's River West

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Bally’s has secured the approval from state gambling regulators for a fully-fledged betting license in Chicago. The unanimous decision from the Illinois Gaming Board ushers in a new era for the gaming industry in the city, with Bally’s establishing a presence at the soon-to-be-constructed megadevelopment in River West.

Bally’s temporary casino, nestled within the historic Medinah Temple, has already seen a successful run, netting $6.7 million and attracting some 80K visitors within its early weeks of operation. This favorable start has triggered the countdown to the development of a $1.7 billion permanent casino, anticipated to open its doors by September 2026.

In accordance with Illinois state law, casino operators are given a two-year window to operate a temporary site, plus an optional 12-month extension while a permanent site is under construction. Bally’s launched its stint at the Medinah Temple in September under a temporary license, with plans to kick-start construction of the permanent site in River West in July 2024.

This transition from a temporary to permanent casino in Chicago serves as an ambitious development for the city, showcasing the first urban casino in Chicago. Encompassing 3,400 slots and 173 table games, the entertainment complex will feature a 3,000-seat theater and a hotel tower hosting 500 keys. This megaproject which garnered the approval of former Mayor Lori Lightfoot over three other bidders, sets the scene for the diverse range of gambling entertainment that Bally’s will be offering.

Bally’s general manager Mark Wong expressed confidence in meeting the project timeline, while acknowledging the magnitude of this venture. The gaming industry behemoth has till Sept. 9, 2026, to bring the 505,000-square-foot casino complex to fruition.

Concurrently, the temporary casino at the Medinah Temple has stepped into the limelight, owing to its impressive revenue and visitor figures and its historical charm of Moorish Revival-style architecture. With about 800 slot machines and 56 table games, this landmark site has already generated around $695K in city tax revenue. Lori Lightfoot, the city’s former mayor, projected that it will yield a whopping $12.8 million by the end of 2023.

As the chapter of Medinah Temple unfolds, Chicago anticipates $34 million from the casino in 2024, and expects it to create up to 700 jobs. Current Mayor Brandon Johnson underscored the significance of the project, stating, “This project is going to secure Chicago’s fiscally strong and vibrant future.”

With the promise of creating thousands of construction jobs, the permanent casino in River West is envisioned to contribute as much as $200 million annually to the city.

As we reflect on the massive potential of land-based casinos like Bally’s, it’s worth exploring the realm of online casinos as well. In a world that is increasingly turning digital, online casinos offer comfort, convenience, and a kaleidoscope of gaming activities to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. If you head over to our page, we at West Island Blog have compiled a comprehensive guide to the top online casinos for this month, specially tailored for our Canadian readers.