Bally’s Chicago Casino Revenue Hits Record High, Work to Begin on Permanent Resort

Posted on: June 9, 2024, 01:01h. 

Last updated on: June 10, 2024, 09:48h.

The temporary Bally’s casino located in Chicago’s Medinah Temple experienced unprecedented gaming play in May.

Bally's Chicago casino revenue
Bally’s Chicago posted its best month to date in May 2024 with gross gaming revenue of more than $11.73 million. Bally’s plans to soon demolish the Freedom Center to make way for its permanent casino resort in downtown Chicago. (Image: Chicago Tribune)

The Illinois Gaming Control Board (IGCB) reports that the Bally’s casino located at 600 N. Wabash Avenue near the Magnificent Mile won more than $11.73 million from players last month. Slots accounted for $6.98 million while table games won $4.75 million.

May’s $11.7 million haul represents the Bally’s Chicago casino’s best month to date. The 35,000-square-foot gaming facility opened last September.

Our continued growth demonstrates Bally’s Chicago’s popularity with locals and tourists alike, aligns with our community engagement initiatives, and supports our dedication to responsible gaming,” said Mark Wong, vice president and general manager.

Wong said the Bally’s Chicago casino continues to welcome new players into the property’s rewards program. Last month, the total number of enrollees climbed past the 90,000-person mark.

Bally’s Chicago features 800 slot machines and 56 live dealer table games.

Facility Remains Short of Projections

The temporary casino will continue to operate as Bally’s Corp. builds its permanent integrated resort property at the Freedom Center. The Rhode Island-based gaming firm is to take possession of the former Chicago Tribune printing plant early next month.

Bally’s is targeting to open the downtown Windy City casino and resort in 2026. The development is to include a 500-room hotel, a 3,000-seat theater, 10 restaurants, and a casino with 4,000 gaming positions. Bally’s Chicago will become the largest casino in Illinois.

Funding the project, however, hasn’t been easy. Bally’s continues to seek about $800 million to support the $1.7 billion undertaking. Despite the funding shortfall, Wong says the project remains “on track to open” in September 2026.

May’s revenue report for the temporary casino is much-welcomed and needed news for Bally’s. The provisional gaming facility has greatly lagged behind pre-opening revenue forecasts made by city officials and the casino company. Though May was the casino’s best month to date, the revenue remains shy of estimates.

The city last year estimated that the temporary Bally’s Chicago would win $242.7 million from players in 2024, or about $20.22 million a month. From January through May, the casino won $52.36 million, or about $10.47 million a month. 

Demolition Forthcoming

Wong told the Chicago Tribune that Bally’s will prep the Freedom Center for demolition after becoming the complex’s owner next month. Bally’s paid the media group’s parent company, Tribune Publishing, $150 million for the property.

The Freedom Center opened in 1982 at a cost of $185 million. The 659,000-square-foot facility is where several newspapers were printed. Along with the Chicago Tribune, the Freedom Center was the printing hub of the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, and The New York Times‘ Midwest distribution.

The newspapers’ publishing has since been relocated to the Paddock Printing Center in Schaumburg northwest of the Chicago Loop about 10 miles northwest of O’Hare International Airport.

Tribune officials have continued to maintain three printing presses inside the Freedom Center in the case of an emergency breakdown at Schaumburg. But with several weeks of successful printing in the bag at Paddock, the publishing company plans to power down the Freedom Center presses on Sunday night.