Ribbon cutting held for temporary Bally's Chicago casino at Medinah Temple

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Ribbon cutting held for Bally's temporary casino at Medinah Temple
A ribbon cutting was held for the temporary Bally's Chicago casino at Medinah Temple Tuesday morning in River North.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bally's Casino hosted an official ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning, marking the historic opening of the city's first and only casino.

Company leaders and elected officials, including Mayor Brandon Johnson, were celebrating what they hope will be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.

"The gaming revenue taxes will support our city police and fire pension fund. This is more than just an entertainment venue, though. This project is going to secure Chicago's physically strong and vibrant future," Johnson said.

The downtown Bally's temporary casino opened inside the Medinah Temple on Wabash Avenue and Ohio Street back on Sept. 9.

Since then, residents and tourists alike have been testing their luck on more than 750 slot machines and 50 table games.

"We're finding a slightly different crowd right now than the typical casino would do. It's a younger crowd, a very heavy table game crowd, so you know I think that has to do with the people that work and live around here," said Soo Kim, chairman of Bally's Corporation.

Bally's will eventually open a permanent state-of-the-art casino at the former Tribune Publishing plant site in River North in 2026.

As a sign of goodwill and thank you to the city, Bally's Chicago announced charitable donations to three local nonprofit organizations from the proceeds raised during the casino's rehearsal events in early September.

Healthy Hood Chicago, based in Pilsen, is one of the organizations that received a $10,000 gift.

They work to bridge the life expectancy gap between communities of color and affluent communities.

"We hope it's just the first of many donations, right? When big businesses and corporations move into our city, we wanna make sure that they're being responsible, right? And how they give back to these communities that have been under-resourced for so long," said Tanya Lozano-Washington, with Healthy Hood Chicago.