Bally’s Opens First and Only Medinah Temple Casino in Chicago on September 9, 2023

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On September 9, 2023, a day after the gambling license issuance, Bally’s opened its temporary casino at the Medinah Temple in Chicago’s River North area. The first and currently the only casino in Chicago reportedly welcomes guests as the construction of a permanent casino continues to see the launch in the city’s River West area in 2026.

Gaming License Secured: 

As CBS reports, Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter issued the gaming license for the three-story temporary casino resort with around 800 slot machines and 56 table games. The resort features two fine dining restaurants, as well as full-service bars, and a coffee bar.

The temporary gambling facility has been scheduled to operate for up to three years and is expected to generate $55 million in tax revenues and other contributions for the Chicago community.

Announcing the casino opening, the company reportedly stated: “Bally’s Chicago will redefine the entertainment landscape as the first and only casino in Chicago.” 

Test Run: 

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CBS reports that the temporary casino had a test run in the week before the opening, with the state regulators testing the entire facility and the operation of slot machines and gaming tables, as well as the catering, security, and other features.

These were found to meet the criteria and the Board reportedly issued the license for Medinah Temple temporary casino on September 8, 2023.

Casino Supporting Community:

As reported, the casino opened the day after to start working full steam to support the Bally’s payment of the $135 million license fee to the Gaming Board due within 30 days. According to CBS, the regulator will distribute the funds to state infrastructure projects.

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However, it seems that the casino will also help the community by ramping up the operations of the small businesses in the River North neighborhood. The manager of a restaurant adjacent to the Medinah Temple told the source: “We are one of the few restaurants right outside their doors so it’s good for our business. It’s good for our staff. It’s a win all around.”

Opponents Seek Alternative Resources:

On the other hand, the neighboring organization SOAR is strongly opposed to the project and considers that the city should not look at gambling as a fund-raising resource. “Chicago can do better than this,” Deborah Gershbein, president of the SOAR reportedly said. As reported by the source, she continued that the organization is concerned about the traffic issues, as well as potential safety issues related to the roads connecting the casino and the downtown.

Bally’s reportedly said that the company is ready to handle such concerns as it expects to have around 500 people employed at the resort. It seems that the range of assignments may cover congestion and safety issues related to the property which opened at 8 a.m. on September 9. Indeed, CBS reports that the city and Chicago Police helped with traffic control and gave necessary information and instructions to people flocking to the Bally’s  Medinah Temple casino which will reportedly be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.

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