Bally’s Chicago Granted Preliminary Suitability by Illinois Gaming Board

Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has deemed Bally’s application for its future Chicago casino “preliminarily suitable.” The board voted 4-0 in favor of the plan’s suitability, allowing Bally’s to focus on the remaining regulatory requirements. At the same meeting, the company secured a license extension for its existing property in the state, Bally’s Quad Cities.

Several steps remain before Bally’s can open its temporary casino at Medinah Temple in Chicago’s River West neighborhood. However, preliminary suitability is essential to opening Medinah and, eventually, Bally’s permanent casino location.

Bally’s shared a statement with The Southland Journal after IGB’s ruling:

We are pleased with the Preliminary Finding of Suitability today by the Illinois Gaming Board for Chicago’s first and only casino. The ruling will enable us to continue development efforts on Bally’s Chicago Casino temporary site at the iconic Medinah Temple. As a world-class city and a global destination, Chicago provides an exceptional environment to offer outstanding amenities to visitors and residents alike.

Bally’s Chicago on to Next Steps with Preliminary Approval

Multiple Bally’s representatives for the company spoke at the June 15 board meeting, including board chairman Soo Kim and Mike Wong, general manager of Bally’s Chicago.

Opening remarks from Kim set the tone:

Look, we are excited to be part of the historic moment to open the first casino in the city of Chicago. It’s a pretty weighty thing. And this is going to allow us to keep our commitments or many commitments to the city in the community that we’ve made. We’ve asked the city of Chicago to bet on Bally’s, and we’re here to pay that bet off.

His colleagues followed, sharing Bally’s efforts to meet the remaining legal and regulatory requirements. A plan to offer a segment of casino shares to local Chicago residents is part of the deal.

The presentation also included details of Bally’s temporary Medinah Temple facility.

After a short question period and unanimous vote, the IGB found Bally’s preliminarily suitable for licensure.

However, as IGB administrator Marcus Fruchter noted earlier in the meeting, preliminary approval is an initial step:

The board is not being asked today to approve an imminent opening or to issue any temporary operating permits or licenses at this meeting; those decisions are for a different time in place.

While preliminary suitability is a very significant and hopeful step that allows an applicant to continue commencement of gaming operations and ultimate licensure. Preliminary suitability is not the final act in this opera, and it does not render licensure a mere formality.

Nonetheless, it is indeed a very significant and important step.

This latest approval doesn’t Bally’s a Chicago casino license from the IGB. That final licensing step involves a more detailed inquiry, including a test of on-site gaming operations.

It’s expected that phase could begin for Medinah Temple soon, though the timeline remains unconfirmed.

Bally’s Expects to Hire 700 at Medinah Temple Casino

In the meantime, Bally’s reported that construction is underway at the temporary site.

Wong noted that despite being temporary, the Medinah casino would have over 50 gaming tables, 750 slots, and various dining choices.

He also noted the company’s commitment to developing its workforce, which Bally’s reiterated in their later statement:

Bally’s Chicago will create employment opportunities for approximately 700 individuals across various professional fields, including gaming operations, hospitality, security, surveillance, janitorial services, human resources, and finance & accounting. Bally’s strictly adheres to all guidelines provided by the Illinois Gaming Board.

IGB Extends License for Bally’s Quad Cities Four Years

Bally’s representatives were also on hand to renew Bally’s Quad Cities property license for another four years.

After a short, in-depth presentation, the IGB unanimously approved the license extension for the property, located in Rock Island near the Iowa border.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
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