A Chicago casino is one step closer to reality — what to know

Bally's is one step closer to making a Chicago casino a reality.

The company has officially filed its application with the Illinois Gaming Board.

Bally's is proposing to build a $1.74 billion casino in River West. It is not expected to open until 2026.


In the meantime, Bally’s hopes to open a temporary casino at the historic Medinah Temple downtown.

The next step is winning license approval from the state.

Bally’s has proposed 3,400 slots, a 3,000-seat entertainment center, a hotel with up to 500 rooms, a 1,000-seat outdoor music venue and exhibition space including a Chicago sports museum.

In 1989, then-newly-elected Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley opted out of Illinois’ riverboat gambling law.

Three years later, Daley did an about-face, embracing a $2 billion casino and entertainment complex proposed by three Las Vegas gaming giants. That was followed by decades of futility in Springfield as Daley and his successors tried to convince several governors and the Illinois General Assembly to authorize a Chicago casino.

Now, Lightfoot gets to campaign for re-election by touting a job-and-contract-generating project that eluded her predecessors — if the Illinois Gaming Board quickly signs off on the deal.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.