Practice sessions at Bally's temporary casino at former Medinah Temple to begin Wednesday

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023
Practice games at Medinah Temple casino to begin Wednesday
Bally's temporary Chicago casino in the Medinah Temple will begin holding practice games Wednesday ahead of its potential opening.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's about to be "game on" for Chicago's temporary casino.

Wednesday practice games begin at the former Medinah Temple. The building is on Wabash Avenue between Ohio and Ontario streets.

Chicago's first casino could be open as soon as this weekend if regulators give the green light following practice sessions starting Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Bally's releases new renderings of Chicago casino complex in River West

ABC7 was given a tour of the facility on Tuesday, but we were not able to bring cameras inside.

However, ABC7 did get a view of some of the games through the site's glass doors.

There are already 750 slot machines and 50 table games inside the 111-year-old Medinah Temple, the site of Bally's temporary River North casino.

Practice gaming sessions are taking place Wednesday and Thursday, where the Illinois Gaming Board will determine if the casino is ready to open.

A Bally's executive said they are ready to welcome the public, but it's up to the Illinois Gaming Board.

"We will have people coming in every hour, gambling, trying the facilities out, looking at our services," Ameet Patel, the senior vice president and regional general manager for Bally's Corporation, said. "Accordingly, the IGB will evaluate how we did. It is their call. We respect their call. They have been fantastic to work with. They have been tough on us. We want to show them that we are 110 percent ready to open this operation."

The 111-year-old temple is now home to 750 slot machines and 50 table games, all while Bally builds its permanent $1.7 billion casino at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center printing plant side in River West, which could take up to three years.

Some residents ABC7 spoke with say they are excited about Bally's being in River North. Others are concerned about crime and traffic congestion.