Performance called "underwhelming"

Chicago's new Bally's Casino failing to meet opening month performance

2023-12-11
Reading time 1:24 min

After almost three months of operation, Chicago’s new temporary Bally's Casino has yet to meet the high expectations set during its opening. According to the Illinois Gaming Board's latest data release, the casino’s attendance and revenue in November remained relatively unchanged compared to October, indicating a stagnation rather than the growth anticipated by the project's supporters.

Bally's Chicago registered 86,459 patrons in November, making it the second most visited among Illinois’s 15 casinos, behind Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. However, this attendance translates to an average of 2,882 visitors per day, a marginal increase from October's 2,681 daily visitors and a significant drop of nearly 14% from the 3,347 daily visitors in its inaugural month.

In a surprising turn, the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, a 29-year-old establishment, came close to Bally's with 85,628 customers in November, falling short by only 831 patrons.

Regarding casino revenue, Bally's Chicago’s November "win" was consistent with October’s figures but showed a decrease from its opening days in September. November’s win was $7.6 million, averaging $253,604 per day. This figure is about the same as October’s daily earnings of $245,446 but shows a nearly 9% decline from September's daily revenue of $278,268.

In a statewide comparison, Ballys November earnings ranked fourth, behind Rivers, Grand Victoria, and Harrah’s Joliet. Hollywood Casinos in Joliet and Aurora and the temporary American Place casino in Waukegan closely followed Bally's earnings.

Looking ahead to the Indiana Gaming Commission’s upcoming revenue report, expectations are that casinos in Hammond, East Chicago, Gary, and Michigan City will report higher gains than Bally’s Chicago, according to NWI.com.

Bally’s Chicago’s underwhelming performance thus far has raised questions about its ability to meet the city's ambitious revenue targets. The city had projected annual tax revenues of $50 million during the casino’s operations at Medinah Temple and $200 million annually by 2026, after the opening of a permanent $1.7 billion casino complex in River West. However, Bally's paid just $779,000 in casino taxes to Chicago’s police and firefighter pension funds in November.

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