In case you missed the historic milestone, Chicago’s first-ever casino opened last month bringing with it the unprecedented opportunity to legally gamble within the City of Chicago.
Temporarily housed within the historic Medinah Temple in River North, the casino opened with a temporary operating permit and the hope that it would be able to move into a $1.7 billion casino building in River West.
Just a few weeks after the start of its temporary residency began, Bally’s has now been granted the right to permanently operate in Chicago meaning that the casino now has permission to reside at the Medinah Temple until 2026 when it will move into its yet-to-be-built mega casino complex on the current Tribune Publishing site.
This week the Illinois Gaming Board brought over a year’s wait to a close voting unanimously in favor of converting Bally’s temporary operating permit into a full casino license.
Currently offering 750 slot machines, 55 table games, two restaurants, and a cafe from its temporary Medinah Temple residence, the extravagant 505,000-square-foot permanent residence will dwarf the current casino when it eventually opens in 2026.
With Tribune Publishing leaving the building next year more than two years of construction and $1.7 billion will transform the River West site into a mega-casino and resort with 3,400 slots, 173 table games, an exhibition hall, a 500-room hotel, a 3,000-seat theater, and 11 restaurants.
State gambling regulators currently limit the operation of any temporary facility to two years with the opportunity to apply for an extra year’s extension. The Medinah Temple location will now therefore fulfil its maximum allotted time as a temporary casino and be forced to move out on September 9, 2026, when Bally’s hopes to have the permanent location ready.
Having made nearly $6.7 million since opening inside the Medinah Temple. Bally’s has generated just shy of $700,000 in city tax revenue meaning it is somewhat off the $12.8 million end-of-year target originally forecast.
City officials are expecting $35 million in annual tax revenue next year which is predicted to rise to over $200 million a year once it moves into its permanent residence. All revenue has been earmarked for underfunded police and firefighter pension funds.
[Featured image courtesy of Bally’s]