September Opening Announced for Bally’s Temporary Casino in Chicago

Last updated on: August 4, 2023, 04:05h.

Bally’s (NYSE: BALY) has announced another delay for its temporary Chicago casino, with an expected opening date in September, according to the company’s second-quarter earnings report.

Medinah Temple
The Medinah Temple, which will be home to Bally’s temporary Chicago casino. The gaming venue is expected to open in September. (Image: Friedman Properties)

The temporary casino will be located at Medinah Temple in Chicago’s River North neighborhood and will serve as a placeholder until the construction of the permanent venue is finished. The approval for the temporary casino was granted by the Illinois Gaming Board in June, raising hopes of an opening in July or August.

“Obviously we’re a little delayed from what we communicated to you last time on opening,” said Bally’s CFO Marcus Glover on a Thursday conference call with analysts.

With the gaming machines already installed and Bally’s working through the testing phase of wagering operations, the venue is nearing readiness pending presentation of the test results to the city.

The Medinah Temple location is a precursor to Bally’s $1.7 billion permanent integrated resort in Chicago. Anticipated to open in 2026, this will be the city’s first casino hotel and represents Bally’s most expansive undertaking to date. Analysts view the presence in the third-largest US city as a potential catalyst for Bally’s and its shares.

“Beyond 2024E, we believe EBITDAR growth should continue and significantly step up when BALY opens the ~$1.7bn Chicago CBD property in June 2026, which we currently assign as $1 of valuation, but it could be as high as $7 of value if successful,” wrote Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon in a report to clients.

Owing to the precarious financial positions of Chicago and Illinois, it is in the best interest of both the city and the operator to expedite the opening of the temporary and permanent casinos. The revenue generated from the casino-hotel, including employment opportunities and corporate taxes, is seen as vital for a city and state grappling with significant public employee pension issues.

This year, Bally’s is expected to deliver $70 million to the city, including an upfront payment of $40 million. According to an investor presentation, the gaming company forecasts earnings of $15 million to $25 million for the remainder of 2023 from the temporary casino.

Glover estimates that the temporary Chicago casino could generate monthly earnings of $3.5 million to $5 million for Bally’s for the rest of 2023, with that figure increasing to $50 million to $60 million in 2024 when the venue is open for the entire year.

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