Hard Rock’s Temporary Illinois Casino Could Be Preview For New Bally’s In Chicago

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on June 15, 2022 - Last Updated on June 17, 2022
Rockford Continues To Shine Hard Rock Temporary Casino

Many expect the future Bally’s Casino to be a cash cow for Chicago. After gaining city council approval, Bally’s is in the process of obtaining a casino license from the state gaming board. Once the company gets a license, it can open its temporary casino.  

With a population north of 8.9 million and a robust tourism industry, there is no reason why a temporary Chicago casino can’t perform better than the one in Rockford, Illinois.

Since opening in November, the Hard Rock Rockford temporary casino has drawn 247,022 visits and generated more than $30 million in just over six months.  

The power of a temporary Illinois casino

Hard Rock Casino Rockford will likely open in fall 2023. In the meantime, the temporary facility known as A Hard Rock Opening Act is a 37,000-square foot placeholder. 

The facility features:

  • Over 625 slot machines/electronic table games
  • Rock River Bar & Grill
  • Midway Bar

Hard Rock Rockford President Geno Iafrate said he is happy with the casino’s performance so far. 

“We continue to see strong growth there and we know where our customers are coming from. A third of them are coming from outside 90 miles which is very encouraging.”

As for revenue, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said the temporary casino is producing the kind of numbers the city expected. 

“Through the casino, we have been bringing in tens of thousands of dollars to the county, Loves Park and Machesney Park. In Rockford, now hundreds of youth are going to NIU free of charge. The vast majority are first generation college-going students. This is huge as we drastically lag other major cities in the percent of our population with a college degree.”

The city dedicates $1.5 million to a scholarship fund, which is replenished with its portion of casino proceeds. 

Breaking down Hard Rock casino numbers

Visits to Opening Act were down 4.6% to 37,766 from the 39,579 in April. Despite a low attendance number, the casino still managed $4.7 million in revenue for May. 

According to the Illinois Gaming Board, Hard Rock Opening Act has generated about $1.8 million in tax revenue for local governments since its opening. 

Expectations for a Bally’s Chicago Casino

Mayor Lori Lightfoot chose the Medinah Temple as the site of Bally’s temporary casino. The former Bloomingdale’s store is a massive 130,000-square-foot property located at 600 N. Wabash Ave. 

Until Bally’s receives a casino license, it’s unknown how many slot machines and table games will be at the temporary casino. 

The permanent location will feature 3,400 slot machines and 173 table games. City analysts estimate the casino to generate about $191.7 million in revenue six years after opening. 

Additional amenities include:

  • Outdoor Park & music venue
  • 3,000 seat theater
  • Chicago sports hall of fame
  • Restaurants, bars, and rooftop

Much like Hard Rock Casino Rockford, there is no mention of Illinois online casino gaming

Photo by Shutterstock.com
Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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