Bally’s Chicago to Open in Late 2026, Happy With Temporary Casino

Posted on: February 22, 2024, 01:46h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2024, 11:51h.

During their 2023 earnings call, Bally’s Corporation officials said they’re pleased with the performance of the temporary casino in Chicago. They believe the permanent resort’s construction time line remains on track.

Bally's Chicago casino gaming revenue
A rendering of Bally’s Chicago, a $1.7 billion project. Bally’s Corporation said in its 2023 earnings report that it’s pleased with the ramp-up of the company’s temporary Chicago casino. (Image: Bally’s Corp.)

Bally’s reported $2.44 billion in total revenue for its 2023 operations, up 8.5% from 2022. Gaming fueled the increase, as the company’s casinos and iGaming platforms won more than $1.99 billion from gamblers, an 8% year-over-year improvement.

The Rhode Island-based gaming firm, controlled by Soo Kim’s private equity firm Standard General, said net income rebounded from a $293 million loss in 2022 to $122.1 million. However, the company still incurred a net loss of $172.6 million, though that narrowed from $425.5 million.

Bally’s CEO Robeson Reeves said the company experienced robust growth in the fourth quarter and is optimistic about 2024. Fourth quarter revenues grew 6%, and gains were made in all three of the company’s operating segments — casinos and resorts, international interactive, and North America interactive.

Chicago Focus

Reeves said the company is seeing Bally’s Chicago improve its operating performance inside its temporary home at the Medinah Temple. The 34,900-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines and 56 live dealer table games opened on September 9.

Casino win from slots and tables was $7.6 million in October and November. Gross gaming revenue climbed to $8.5 million in December and rose to nearly $9.3 million in January. The numbers are exclusive of sports betting revenue.

During its first 147 days in business through January, Bally’s Chicago counted over 438K admissions. The casino went 24/7 in late December.

Almost 60K patrons have signed up for Bally’s Rewards at the temporary casino. The casino offers new enrollees $25 in free slot play and $25 in table credits, plus free parking. Bally’s is also matching rewards tiers of competitor casinos in the Chicagoland area.

While Bally’s presented a rosy picture of its Chicago outfit, the casino continues to fall far short of preopening revenue projections made by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. Bally’s President George Papanier assured investors better days are ahead.

Since opening the Chicago facility in September, our dedicated property team has made amendable efforts to improve operations in advance towards our desired operational pace, including the build-out of a robust database. As we’ve noted before, we are several months behind our initial ramp-up schedule due to factors such as delaying opening, restricting operating hours at launch, the absence of valet parking, and limited F&B offerings,” Papanier explained.

“We’re actively addressing these opportunities for improvement and we’ve already seen success with several of them,” the Bally’s boss added.

Permanent Casino Timeline

As for the construction of the $1.7 billion permanent casino set to be built at the former Tribune printing plant dubbed the Freedom Center, Bally’s leadership says the timeline remains as planned.

In line with previous timelines we shared, we remain set to access the Chicago Tribune site late this summer, allowing for demolition and site preparation in the second half of 2024, with completion of the facility coming late in the third quarter of 2026,” Reeves said.

The Chicago City Council gave its final approval to the resort blueprint in December.

The casino is to feature 3,400 slots, 170 table games, and a sportsbook. The destination will come with 500 hotel rooms, six restaurants and a food hall, a 3,000-seat theater, a fitness center, a spa, a sun deck, and an outdoor public park.