New Bally's Chicago Casino Still Failing to Gain Traction

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Bally's Chicago's earnings in November showed no significant change, maintaining the same level as the previous months. Despite operating for three months, the casino's revenue remains stagnant due to the pending approval from the Illinois Gaming Board to transition to a 24-hour daily schedule.

Bally's Not Yet Impressing Chicago

Data released by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) reveals that Bally's' temporary casino drew in an impressive sum of over $7.6 million from admissions last month, mirroring its total revenue achieved in October. Moreover, Bally's Chicago experienced a surge in visitor numbers for November, with 86,459 individuals stepping through its doors, representing an increase of over 3,000 from October.

Bally's, which may face an investigation over the Chicago casino, has managed to accumulate roughly $21.9 million in adjusted cash receipts, excluding the money paid out as winnings, ever since it first opened its doors. As a result, the IGB data reveals that within a three-month period, the state tax revenue amounted to approximately $2.8 million, while the local tax revenue surpassed $2.2 million.

In June, when the casino was originally supposed to open, Bally's expected the casino to reach above $100 million in adjusted gross receipts for the current year. As a result, Chicago forecasted $70 million in revenue for the city, including a $40-million payment for the permits and $13 million in gaming tax revenue. In an investor presentation conducted in August, it was disclosed that Bally's had revised its revenue forecast for the casino this year, anticipating a decrease of $15 million to $25 million.

According to data from the IGB, among the 15 state casinos, the Chicago casino secured the fourth spot in terms of revenue and ranked second in admissions during November. The leading position was held by Rivers Casino Des Plaines, which amassed $43.5 million in adjusted gross receipts and attracted 249,000 visitors. In an unexpected surge, the state's casino revenue skyrocketed by $1.3 million to $130.4 million in November.

Altering Chicago's Landscape

Bally's emerged victorious in its bid for the casino license amid intense rivalry last year by surpassing four other contenders. Its proposal involved the construction of a casino worth $1.74 billion in the River West area.

On September 9, the temporary casino was unveiled at the historic Medinah Temple, a magnificent Moorish theater located in River North, encompassing an area of 130,000 square feet. The site had previously served as the host of the yearly Shrine Circus for over a century.

Approximately $50 million was invested by Bally's to revamp the colossal three-story longhouse situated on North Wabash Avenue. Following the extensive renovation, the property presently boasts an impressive array of amenities, including nearly 800 slot machines, 56 table games, a restaurant and various other amenities.

Bally's Chicago currently operates just 20 hours each day. It's awaiting authorization from the IGB to extend its operating hours around the clock, similar to that of Rivers Casino and various other establishments. Additionally, the casino is actively seeking the backing of the community to introduce a valet parking service, with the aim of enhancing convenience for its guests during their visits.

Anticipated revenue growth awaits Medinah Temple Casino as it broadens its range of offerings, with future plans including the introduction of sports betting. Looking forward, the establishment aims to unveil its permanent Chicago casino by 2026.

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