Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins has expressed concern that the $1.7 billion Bally’s Chicago integrated casino resort may not open by the September 2026 deadline, as required by the state. Hopkins, a critic of Bally’s Corporation’s selection for the downtown casino opportunity, believes that the project may not come to fruition.
In 2019, Illinois lawmakers and Governor JB Pritzker expanded gaming in the state by authorizing an integrated resort casino in downtown Chicago. Then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot selected Bally’s for the downtown Chicago casino in May 2022, choosing it over bids from Hard Rock International and Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming.
Bally’s presented the city with the best offer and paid $40 million upon being selected. The company also agreed to pay an additional $4 million to the city each year, along with gaming and other taxes. The permanent resort is projected to employ 3,000 workers and include a gaming floor with 3,400 slot machines, 170 table games, and a sportsbook. It will also have a resort hotel, six restaurants, a 3,000-seat theater, and an outdoor amphitheater.
However, financial concerns have arisen regarding the project. Bally’s was allowed to open a temporary casino in Chicago to help finance the larger permanent resort. While the provisional gaming space won nearly $6.7 million in September, gaming revenue has since slowed, with gross gaming revenue of just $7.6 million in October.
Hopkins, who opposed Bally’s selection, has raised worries about the company’s ability to complete the project due to its lack of financial resources. He believes that Bally’s is inexperienced in undertaking a project of this scale. Bally’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment on these concerns.
Hopkins warned that the company may not have the financial capability to bring the $1.7 billion project to reality, and that Bally’s may keep renewing the temporary site at the Medinah Temple. He expressed disappointment that the city’s long-awaited casino license ended up with a company ill-equipped for the task.
The fate of the Bally’s Chicago integrated casino resort remains uncertain, with ongoing concerns about its financial stability and the ability to meet the state-mandated deadline.