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Bally’s Chicago revenue grows in February, generating more than $1 million in local tax revenue

Bally’s Chicago continued to up its game last month, setting new records for admissions and revenue, and generating more than $1 million in local taxes for the first time.

Revenue at the temporary Medinah Temple casino grew 6.5% to nearly $9.9 million in adjusted gross receipts, according to February data released Thursday by the Illinois Gaming Board. But Bally’s Chicago slipped behind Harrah’s Joliet to rank fourth in revenue among the state’s 15 casinos.

Admissions at Bally’s Chicago surged by nearly 20% for the month to nearly 106,000 visitors, ranking second behind Rivers Casino Des Plaines.

Bally’s Chicago opened its temporary River North facility in September, quickly establishing itself as one of the busiest casinos in the state as it looks to ramp up revenue.

“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,” Mark Wong, vice president and general manager of Bally’s Chicago, said in a news release.

Statewide casino revenue was up 16% for the month, with $137.7 million in adjusted gross receipts, according to Gaming Board data. Admissions were up by 15%, topping more than 1 million casino visitors.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines remained the top casino for revenue and admissions, generating $43.6 million in adjusted gross receipts and welcoming more than 244,000 visitors.

While Bally’s crossed the $1 million mark in local tax revenue, it still has a long way to go to meet Chicago’s target for its first casino.

The city projected Bally’s would generate nearly $243 million in adjusted gross receipts this year, yielding about $35 million in local gaming taxes — the amount of casino revenue included in Chicago’s 2024 budget. Through February, the city’s share of Bally’s wagering tax is about $1.92 million, according to Gaming Board data.

Rhode Island-based Bally’s won a heated competition to build the Chicago casino at the Chicago Tribune’s 30-acre River West publishing site. It received final planning and zoning approval from the city in December 2022 for a $1.74 billion entertainment complex that includes an exhibition hall, a 500-room hotel, a 3,000-seat theater, 10 restaurants and 4,000 gaming positions.

In January, Bally’s revealed that it would have to relocate the 500-room hotel tower to avoid damaging city water pipes near the Chicago River.

Bally’s submitted a revised site plan to the city in December that would build a 100-room hotel on top of the casino and a second-phase 400-room tower nearby. Such changes are allowed under the approved planned development and are still under city review, a Bally’s spokesperson said Thursday.

Last year, Bally’s agreed to pay Tribune Publishing, owners of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, $150 million to vacate the Freedom Center by July. Tribune Publishing plans to relocate printing operations to the Daily Herald plant in Schaumburg, which it purchased for an undisclosed price.

Bally’s is expected to break ground this year, with plans to open the permanent casino complex in 2026.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com