Chicago casino hits new monthly highs for visitors, revenue

The Times Of Northwest Indiana
Chicago casino hits new monthly highs for visitors, revenue
Wild Casino

The new casino in downtown Chicago appears to be on a winning streak after recording in February its highest daily attendance and revenue since opening its doors in September.

At the same time, Bally's Chicago continues to generate tax receipts well below the sky-high expectations for the city's only legal gaming destination.

Data recently released by the Illinois Gaming Board show Bally's tallied 105,661 guests at its Medinah Temple gaming facility in February — once again notching the second-highest monthly attendance of Illinois' 15 casinos, behind only Rivers Casino in west suburban Des Plaines and its 244,047 patrons.

Bally's February customer count amounts to an average of 3,643 visitors per day, a 27.9% increase compared to the casino's 2,849 daily visitors in January, and well above the 3,347 daily visitors Bally's saw during its first partial month of operations.

The Chicago casino also saw meaningful growth in its February "win" — which is the casino's revenue after paying out slot machine and table game players — compared to January.

Bally's February win totaled $9.9 million, or $340,612 a day. That was 13.8% better than the $299,252 daily win in January, and was its highest monthly win since opening.

Overall, Bally's February win ranked fourth-highest in Illinois behind Rivers ($43.6 million) Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin ($11.9 million), and Harrah's Joliet ($10.6 million).

"Bally's Chicago Casino is the second-most visited of any Illinois casino every month since opening and the momentum is palpable as we welcome new guests each day," said Mark Wong, vice president and general manager.

"Our casino is bustling — especially on the weekend — and we continue to expand amenities to enhance the guest experience, such as free or discounted parking and a new lounge area for our fast-growing VIP segment."

The Indiana Gaming Commission isn't scheduled to release its February revenue report for Hoosier State casinos until Tuesday.

But if history is any guide, the casinos in Hammond, East Chicago, Gary and Michigan City will show a higher win last month compared to the new Chicago casino.

In February 2023, for example, the lowest win at a Northwest Indiana casino was $11.2 million at Blue Chip in Michigan City.

Ameristar Casino in East Chicago tallied $16.5 million in February 2023 win, Horseshoe Casino in Hammond took in $27.9 million, and the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary led the state that month with $34.4 million in win, or more than $1.2 million per day, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Despite its improved performance, Bally's Chicago remains unlikely to meet the city's tax revenue target of $35 million a year during operations at Medinah Temple, and $200 million a year in 2026 and beyond after Bally's opens a $1.7 billion permanent casino, entertainment and hotel complex at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street in the city's River West neighborhood.

In February, Bally's paid just $1 million in casino taxes to Chicago's severely underfunded police and firefighter pension accounts, records show.