Admissions also up from April

Bally’s Chicago smashes revenue records with $11.7 million in May

Render of Bally's Chicago
Reading time 2 min

May marked a significant rebound for Bally’s Chicago, which achieved a record $11.7 million in adjusted gross receipts, according to data released by the Illinois Gaming Board. This represents a 13% increase from April, reversing the temporary casino's first month-over-month decline since its opening at Medinah Temple in September.

The temporary casino also saw a rise in admissions, with nearly 119,000 visitors in May, up 5% from April. This places Bally’s Chicago second in admissions behind Rivers Casino Des Plaines, the state's top revenue-generating casino.

Despite these gains, Bally’s Chicago's numbers still lag behind city projections. The long-term growth of the casino is tied to the future permanent location planned for the soon-to-be-demolished Freedom Center printing plant site in River West. 

Mark Wong, vice president and general manager of Bally’s Chicago, attributed the record performance to increased membership in the casino’s loyalty program as the company grows closer to breaking ground on its permanent location.

Statewide, gaming revenue increased by 5% to nearly $144 million in May, with over a million visitors across Illinois' 15 casinos. As for year-to-date performance, Bally’s Chicago contributed $52.4 million in adjusted gross receipts and over $5.5 million in local tax revenue during the first five months of 2024. However, the city’s projections for Bally’s are significantly higher, anticipating $243 million in adjusted gross receipts and $35 million in local gaming taxes for the year.

Bally’s Corporation, based in Rhode Island, is navigating a March buyout offer from its largest shareholder, Standard General. The New York hedge fund, which holds a 23% stake in Bally’s, proposed buying out remaining stockholders at $15 per share, valuing the company at approximately $648 million. 

The Bally’s board has formed a special committee and retained Macquarie Capital as a financial adviser to evaluate the offer and consider strategic alternatives. No updates on the buyout offer were provided as of late.

The city and Bally’s are heavily investing in the success of the planned permanent casino complex. The new facility is set to include an exhibition hall, a 500-room hotel, a 3,000-seat theatre, 10 restaurants, and 4,000 gaming positions, making it the largest in the state. Bally’s has agreed to pay Tribune Publishing $150 million to vacate the Freedom Center by July 5, with the new complex slated to open in September 2026.

We will take occupancy of the property in early July and will begin preparing the site for demolition,” Wong stated in an email to the Chicago Tribune. “Our construction timetable is on track to open the permanent Bally’s Chicago Casino in September 2026.”

The Freedom Center, which has been the largest newspaper printing plant in North America for 43 years, is concluding its operations. The Chicago Tribune has moved its production to the former Daily Herald facility in Schaumburg, which it purchased last year. The final press run at the Freedom Center occurred on May 31, marking the end of an era for the historic site.

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