Gaming Board Grants Bally’s Permanent License

Rendering of new Ballys casino and hotel tower by SCB

The Illinois Gaming Board has approved the permanent operating license for Bally’s future casino at 777 W Chicago Avenue in River West. The approval came this week after a lengthy review period, also granting the temporary location within the Medinah Temple its requested extension to 2026. The efforts were led by Rhode-Island based Bally’s who worked with various architects on both of the properties.

Rendering of temporary casino at the Medinah Temple via Bally’s

Currently Bally’s has been operating its River North location at 600 N Wabash Avenue under a temporary license. However the approval granted a 12-month extension to it, allowing them to run the facility for the full time frame they had originally announced. The 45,000 square-feet property opened last month and contains 750 slots as well as 55 tables, complemented by two restaurants we previously covered.

Interior view of the upcoming Bally’s temporary casino via Terence Crayton and Bally’s

Within its first few weeks the temporary casino saw over 80,000 visitors and generated Bally’s roughly $6.7 million after paying out winners. Already the second most visited facility in the state, this bodes well for the company’s future location which is set to open in 2026 and utilize the now approved permanent license. Anchored by a 500-foot hotel tower, the massive complex will feature performance venues, dining, a riverwalk, and a casino with over 4,000 positions.

River front park rendering of upcoming Bally’s casino by SCB

While that facility will still need to clear multiple hurdles including with the state gaming board, its license is now finalized and thus can fully move forward with construction. Currently Bally’s claims to be on schedule to take over the Chicago Tribune site in 2024 as originally planned, ready to kick-off their two-year construction plan soon after in order to open by 2026.

Subscribe to YIMBY’s daily e-mail

Follow YIMBYgram for real-time photo updates
Like YIMBY on Facebook
Follow YIMBY’s Twitter for the latest in YIMBYnews


6 Comments on "Gaming Board Grants Bally’s Permanent License"

  1. With a permanent license I don’t see a hugely compelling reason for Bally’s to build on their permanent site anytime soon…or really, ever.

    Sure, the new complex will eventually have the capacity to make a lot more money, but a massive capital expenditure will be required to accommompish that, vs. the efficient retrofit at Medinah.

    If anyone loses by keeping the casino at Medinah it’s the city/state, since their take would likely be lower there than what was projected to fill budget gaps. But if I’m Bally’s and looking at a cash cow in the heart of the tourist district, adjacent to mass transit and dozens of hotels, shops, and restaurants, how excited am I going to be to spend a boatload to build my casino/hotel at Chicago/Halsted (where there’s little pedestrian traffic and no tourist-friendly transit options)?

    • Is the permanent license not explicitly for the future Chicago Ave location? That’s how it reads in the article.

      • My bad, I guess I didn’t see the distinction from the same operator having a permanent license at one address and not the other. BUT, most of my points remain the same. If Bally’s decides (or is forced by economic/construction complications) to delay the opening of the Chicago Ave location, I’m not sure what choice the gaming board would have but to keep extending the Medinah license indefinitely. By 2026 the city/state will be reliant on their share of the proceeds and they can’t force Bally to build. The only real option would be to select another operator, and go through a years-long bidding and selection process (not sure Brandon Johnson is someone who wants to reopen that can of worms).

        I’ll believe the Chicago Ave. site timelines when the structure goes vertical but will remain a skeptic until then.

  2. It appears from the wording in the article that the permanent license is for the specific address at W Chicago and the temp license has been extended for the Medinah Temple to allow them more time for construction. I live in the area around the Medinah Temple and I haven’t noticed much difference in therms of vehicular traffic. There might be a bit more foot traffic in the area, which is always a welcome thing for businesses in the neighborhood.

  3. I can’t even imagine the chaos of on Halsted and Chicago on a risky basis if this ends up being constructed

  4. Robbers from the nearby ‘hood gonna have a field day when it opens. Lol

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.