Home Airports Slot Machines Possibly In O’Hare & Midway Airports’ Future

Slot Machines Possibly In O’Hare & Midway Airports’ Future

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve arrived for your flight 2 or 3 hours in advance and are lucky enough to get through security quickly, you have a lot of time to kill. If your plane winds up being delayed, there’s even more time on your hands.

John and Jane Q. Public may just sit at the gate, do some shopping, or grab a bite to eat. Those with lounge access will probably hang out there instead. But if you’re at an airport with slot machines and are over a certain age, you also have the option to while away the hours (not conferring with the flowers but) by gambling.

Not many airports have slot machines, but there are a handful:

  • Nevada’s Harry Reid International Airport boasts over 1,400 slot machines
  • Reno-Tahoe Int’l Airport, also in Nevada, has 240 slot machines in a 4,100sf gaming space
  • London’s Heathrow Airport has some gaming machines at Terminals 3 and 5
  • Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam, offers a handful of slots, blackjack, roulette and some other table games.

Slot machines at airports in Pittsburgh and Baltimore have also been discussed, although neither has come to fruition yet.

And now there are two more airports in the U.S. that could eventually see slots – O’Hare and Midway.

In 2019, Illinois granted the city of Chicago a casino license. Five companies submitted bids back in November 2021, and late last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot approved Bally’s Corporation to get the city’s casino license.

The complex will be a $1.7 billion casino built in River West, at the Tribune Publishing site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. It would include 3,400 slot machines and 170 game tables. The project is set to have a 3,000-seat theater, an extension of the Riverwalk and a pedestrian bridge. A hotel, outdoor park and music venue, a fitness center, sun deck and pool spa and a 500 ft. tower are also planned (you can see artists’ photos on this page of Chicago’s local NBC affiliate.

However the Chicago Tribune reports another interesting possibility – the 2019 state law also allows the developer to install some of its slot machines at the city’s two airports. They’d have to be in a “secured area” past airport security and only allows those 21 and over to enter. Other than that, as long as the total number of “gaming positions” at all locations doesn’t exceed 4,000, they’re golden.

With up to 430 possible spaces for slot machines at ORD and MDW, Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim sounds as if he would be all in for this possibility.

“I think it has to be done right, in conjunction with the other concessionaires at the airport,” Kim said. “We can put a portion of our machine count in the airport. I think that will actually sort of help announce Bally’s presence,” Kim said in a statement to the Tribune.

However, Kim also made clear that the higher priority would be the River West casino. This is good because the city has said virtually nothing about the possibility of slots at the airports.

That being said, after the site is completed by the estimated 2026, who knows what could happen next, right?

Feature Image: Pixabay

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1 comment

DaninMCI May 11, 2022 - 5:53 am

What? No marijuana dispensary. I really don’t see this as big news as every store on every corner in Illinois has slot machines but the folks from other places might find novelty in this.

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