Bally’s Corporation eyeing Chicago as site of its next gaming property

Bally’s Corporation eyeing Chicago as site of its next gaming property

NYSE-listed gaming giant Bally’s Corporation is eyeing Chicago, the most populous city in the US state of Illinois, as the site of its next gaming property. Bally’s Corporation recently submitted a proposal to Chicago city officials promising to invest at least $1.6 billion on an integrated casino resort in the metropolitan city. If the company wins, the proposed gaming project would be one of its biggest to date.

Last Friday, the gaming giant confirmed its interest in the promising market of Chicago by announcing that it had submitted two bids for developing and operating casinos at two different sites of the city. More precisely, the company is mulling two potential sites, viz. the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center and the McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard, for its proposed gaming property.

Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corp., “Chicago is a dynamic, world-class city, which is why we are committing to make a $1.6 billion investment in establishing Bally’s Chicago as our flagship, and the only property in its class in the Chicagoland market.”

The Rhode Island-headquartered company’s attempt to enter Chicago’s gaming arena comes amid a flurry of criticism due to onerous tax burdens. In 2020, four gaming operators, including MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd., had participated in Chicago’s request for information process. However, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts eventually withdrew their candidacies from the race.

Currently, Bally’s Corp. operates a total of fourteen casinos in ten states of the U.S. In Illinois, it owns and operates Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, which it acquired in October 2020 for nearly $120 million in cash. Earlier in 2021, the regional gaming operator announced its long-awaited entry into the world-renowned gaming market of Las Vegas. It entered Las Vegas gaming market by acquiring the Tropicana from Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI). Still, a gaming property in Chicago would be a marquee addition to its fast growing portfolio.

Bally’s Corp. is quite optimistic about its chances to win Chicago’s lone gaming license. However, it will undoubtedly have to survive through cutthroat competition as three other competitors are also highly resourceful. A total of five bids have been submitted by four entities, including Hard Rock International, Bally's Corp., and two groups connected to Rivers Casino. Despite the cutthroat competition, Bally’s odds for winning the license are higher as it is only entity that has submitted two bids.