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Bally’s Chicago Casino Sees Strong Start, Aims for Long-Term Success

Bally’s Chicago Casino , housed within the historic Medinah Temple , has made an impressive debut in the city’s bustling River North neighborhood. Despite being in operation for just three weeks, the casino attracted over 80,000 visitors and generated approximately $6.7 million in revenue , according to data released by the Illinois Gaming Board .



Bally’s Chicago Emerges as State’s Second-Busiest Casino



The figures, while promising, place Bally’s Chicago as the second-busiest casino in the state, trailing behind Rivers Casino in Des Plaines , which reported a substantial $41.5 million in revenue for September. However, Bally’s revenue places it in the middle of the pack among the state’s 15 casinos, showcasing a strong potential for growth.



Bally’s Chicago , which opened its doors on September 9 , transformed the historic Medinah Temple into a vibrant gambling venue, featuring 800 slot machines, 56 gaming tables, a central bar, two restaurants, and a coffee shop. The casino’s soft launch was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and other city officials.



Soo Kim, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Bally’s Corporation , expressed optimism about the casino’s future despite the initial challenges faced during the early phase of operation in a statement for The Chicago Tribune . He stated that it was early days and they were still in the phase where they were working out the kinks, acknowledging the “whispered offering” and traffic disruptions downtown as challenges during the casino’s first month.



One of the notable aspects of Bally’s Chicago’s opening was the unexpectedly younger crowd at the table games, indicating a shift in the demographic compared to other Bally’s properties. Soo Kim expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to introduce gaming to downtown Chicago, aiming to change the perception of the area as a viable location for such entertainment.



Bally’s Chicago Temporary Casino Soars, Promising Lucrative Future Returns



The temporary casino , operational until 2026, aims to generate between $15 million and $25 million in earnings this year, according to projections. In September alone, Bally’s Chicago contributed approximately $868,000 in state taxes and $695,000 in local taxes, with the city expecting nearly $70 million in total revenue from the casino in 2023, including a one-time $40 million upfront payment from Bally’s.



Looking ahead, Bally’s Chicago has ambitious plans for the future . The Rhode Island-based company won a competitive bid last year and intends to build a $1.74 billion permanent casino at the site of Tribune Publishing’s Freedom Center printing plant in River West by 2026.  Mayor Brandon Johnson expressed confidence in Bally’s ability to meet its long-term projections, envisioning an annual tax revenue of $50 million from the Medinah location and $200 million per year from the permanent site.

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