CHICAGO — State regulators have cleared the way to turn a historic Chicago landmark into a temporary casino.
The Illinois Gaming Board on Thursday approved plans to turn the Medinah Temple in River North into an interim site of Chicago’s new Bally’s casino.
The permanent building will be built at Chicago Avenue and Halsted.
City Council approves Bally’s as the Chicago casino licensee last May. Bailey’s Chicago casino representatives unveiled the plan for the landmark building in July of 2022. The temporary casino at the Medinah Temple location could be open for up to three years.
Last summer, amid concerns from locals about what the casino’s temporary residency meant for the preservation of the historic building, Joyen Vakil, senior vice president of design and development for Bally’s, said in part, “We are making sure that the building doesn’t get impacted, the façade of the building is not impacted. We are making literally no changes to the outside of the building with the exception of changing the signs where the Bloomingdale sign existed.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she hopes the temporary casino can be operational as early as this summer.
The city plans to use gaming revenues to shore up the city’s fire and police pension funds.
News of a Chicago casino continues to spark mixed reactions from city officials and residents as safety and traffic remain a cause of concern.