Bally’s Casino Project Facing Stern Eye From Wall Street

Written By Jake Garza on July 18, 2022
Bally's could see credit rating drop thanks to Chicago Casino

Wall Street credit rating agencies have concerns about the Bally’s Chicago casino project. Fitch Ratings and S&P don’t love the outlook on the company’s debt.

The city has already given the Bally’s casino project the green light, but the company is still going through the application process with the Illinois Gaming Board. Assuming that that goes off without a hitch, the casino in on track to open in 2025.

Chicago casino is a massive project for Bally’s

Building a casino in downtown Chicago is a massive undertaking. So much so, that Wall Street is keeping a close eye on the situation.

There are a litany of things that could end up slowing down the $1.7 billion project. Major construction projects often run into delays, especially when they’re taking place in a busy area like River West.

Bally’s has never built this kind of casino before. The company usually buys existing properties around the country that are essentially turnkey ready. That has Fitch Ratings and S&P feeling dubious about the company’s ability to tackle the unforeseen in Chicago.

“They in effect cleared their throats and said, ‘hey there may be a problem here and there is a distinct possibility that down the road we could lower the rating,'” Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business said. “This is a really big project for a company that hasn’t built anything like this. There are lots of things that could go wrong at the cost side, with high inflation, zoning issues, any number of things.”

In terms of pure math, Bally’s is taking on a massive amount of debt in order to run the show for Chicago’s casino project. That could be a worthwhile investment long-term, but at least for now, Wall Street is worried about what the implications of the $1.7 billion project will mean for the company.

Temporary Chicago Casino

The main Bally’s building won’t be open until 2025, but the company is building a temporary casino to hold gamblers over in the meantime. The temporary building’s construction could provide a preview of what’s to come for the main Bally’s project.

That short-term casino will open up at Medinah Temple once it’s ready for action. That’s at 600 N. Wabash Ave. if you’re not familiar with the area.

Bally’s needs to pass through the Gaming Board’s application process before construction can start on the temporary building. The company has already sent in its paperwork, so gaming authorities could end up issuing Bally’s a license sooner rather than later.

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