As reported several days ago, Rivers Casino Des Plaines will finally expand its gaming operations by around ten percent. The news came after the casino’s owners Churchill Downs Inc. and Rush Street Gaming received all of the necessary permissions to start with their expansion plans. The operator’s business scheme including the expansion revolves around its riverboat facility which will be moved onto dry land to be part of its casino floor.
This Cook County casino facility opened its doors back in 2011 as the state of Illinois’ tenth riverboat casino. The casino is also the final state’s casino of this kind to open its doors. At the time of its opening, the casino’s operators were required to fully comply with the state regulator’s floating provision in order to be granted all of the necessary gaming licenses to operate in the first place. This floating provision that the casino complied with licensed its casino floor located above a pit of water.
The Tenth and the Last Illinois Riverboat Casino
The casino is located in Des Plaines of Chicago just several minutes from O’Hare International Airport. The majority owner of the venue with sixty-two percent of the stakes is Churchill Downs Inc. while Rush Street Gaming has the remaining thirty-eight stakes in the property. Its history goes back to 2008 when the Illinois Gaming Board awarded the tenth and the final riverboat casino license to a group owned by Neil Bluhm, Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC.
Once Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC was granted all of the necessary licenses, the construction of the 140,000 square-foot casino floor started on around twenty-one acres of land located near the Tri-State Tollway at Des Plaines River Road and Devon Avenue. While the property was granted the mandatory gaming license in 2008, it was approved zoning by the city two years later. Finally, it opened its doors on the 18th of July, 2011.
The Chicago-Area Casino Becoming the State’s Top Gambling Destination
Shortly after the Chicago-region casino venue opened its doors, it has become the state’s top gambling destination which accumulates staggering gross gaming revenues exceeding $400 million regularly. The things have changed after the state’s Governor Mr. Pritzker signed new legislation in June this year. Besides bringing many different changes, the new legislation also eliminated the previously active floating provision while it started a process that will see up to six more casino venues opening their doors within the state’s borders soon.
The new legislation would probably see around two thousand new gaming positions. Today, Rivers Casino Des Plaines offers one thousand and two hundred gaming positions while the addition of one hundred and twenty units is undergoing. This expansion, in particular, is possible as the casino was granted official permission by the state’s gaming regulator.
It was reported that the casino’s officials are already working on adding these additional units which could include new gaming tables, new slot machines and other features to areas of the casino floor which is not located above water. Moreover, this new authorization came with a great licensing fee worth around $250K while the casino’s expansion plans exceed $150 million.
Commenting on the news, the casino’s spokesperson Patrick Skarr said that this Illinois-based venue will be adding new games by managing its existing casino floor before the casino’s big expansion plan comes into place. He also added that the upgraded casino floor will also include new features such as sports bar once the venue receives mandatory approval by the Illinois Gaming Board.