Report: Bally’s Under Investigation Over Chicago Casino Bidding Process

Written By Cole Rush on December 5, 2023
Renderings of the future Bally's Casino to open in 2026 with a story on a federal probe to the bidding process for the permanent location.

Bally’s Chicago is drawing the eye of local and federal investigators.

That’s according to Crain’s Chicago Business, which reports that authorities are looking at the bidding process that resulted in Bally’s winning the opportunity to construct a casino in Chicago.

The probes were spurred by complaints from unsuccessful bidders, the report said.

Alderman says project could be in jeopardy

While there’s more than a dozen casinos spread across The Land of Lincoln, the permanent Baily’s Chicago would be the first Illinois casino within the city limits of the state’s largest city.

No one close to the investigations have commented on the probes. However, Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins confirmed the federal investigation, claiming the entire project – a $1.7 billion development in River West – could be at risk of coming to a complete halt. Supposedly, the federal investigation is being spearheaded by the US Attorneys’ Offices.

Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg is reportedly running the city’s investigation.

A Bally’s spokesperson said the company was not aware of any active investigations, Crain’s Chicago reported.

Which companies could be part of the probes?

Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock International could be behind the complaints that sparked the reported investigations. Both operators were in the running for the Chicago casino project.

There’s another business likely at the center of both investigations. Noruma Securities International was the consulting company contracted by then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office to run the bidding process. Noruma had financial connections to Bally’s, according the Chicago Sun-Times, and stood to benefit from the deal. During the bidding process, Noruma was assisting Bally’s with its Gamesys acquisition. The acquisition required Bally’s to pony up more than $200 million to Noruma.

Considering those who are purportedly involved are staying tight-lipped, the public may have to wait until investigators reveal their findings.

Temporary Bally’s Chicago generating less revenue than expected

So far, the temporary Bally’s Chicago in the heart of downtown has failed to reach financial expectations. City taxes from the company’s temporary property in September and October hit just under $1.5 million. Bally’s is well behind pace of its projected $12.8 million annual tax bill to the state.

It’s not all bad news for Bally’s, however. The temporary property at the former Medinah Temple has garnered approval to stay open into 2026. It remains to be seen if that long runway will give the company time to improve on its disappointing early results.

And if it ultimately loses its bid to build a permanent casino in Chicago, would it continue to keep its temporary casino open?

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Cole Rush

Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found in gambling publications such as PlayIllinois, iGaming Business, Gaming Today,,, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for and Cole has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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