After a tech rehearsal demonstrated readiness for full operations, Illinois casino regulators granted full operating licensure to the Bally’s gaming floor in Chicago’s River North. The doors opened on Saturday, September 9. The Medinah Temple gaming floor, classified as a “temporary” facility to stand in for Bally’s planned permanent casino resort on the North Branch of the Chicago River, contains nearly 800 slot machines and 56 table games.
The Medinah Temple gaming floor is the first legally licensed gaming casino to operate in Chicago. Licensed under the 2019 gambling expansion law enacted by the General Assembly, the new floor was created to raise money to help deal with significant budget pressures felt by Chicago and the State, including pressures related to the pension payments made to public-safety and other employees. As part of the licensure permission, the Chicago casino will be required to make a one-time payment of more than $135 million to the State of Illinois for use in rebuilding Statewide infrastructure projects, including capital assistance for Illinois schools and institutions of higher education. The long-term operation of Bally’s in Chicago is expected to generate $55 million per year in city of Chicago tax revenue, earmarked for public safety pensions.