Illinois is fully embracing its gambling industry. Not long ago, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new gambling bill into law that allows for new casinos and legal sports betting. This week, Churchill Downs, one of the largest gambling operators in the state, announced new casino expansion plans.
This company already operates one of the most successful casinos in the state. Churchill Downs is preparing to add significantly more gambling options to this gambling venue. Here’s what we can expect over the next few years.
Illinois Lawmakers Approve Gambling Expansion Bill
Many US states are actively working to expand their gambling industries. Back in May of 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, allowing each state to set their own laws on the sports betting industry. Almost immediately after, several major states began to legalize sports gambling, and some decided to allow online casino gambling.
Competition is higher than ever in the US gambling market. Lawmakers are finally beginning to realize the huge potential for revenue gains through this industry. In June, Governor Pritzker officially signed a new gambling expansion bill into law.
Under this new set of laws, new casinos can be constructed in five different Illinois cities. This includes a brand new casino in Chicago. It also gives the state’s existing casinos the option to increase their amount of gambling options.
One of the largest casino operators in this state has announced that they plan to do just that. It’s exciting news for what is already some of the most popular gambling venues in Illinois. Let’s look at what this company has planned!
Churchill Downs Ready to Expand Its Casino Operations
Churchill Downs, a Louisville-based casino and racetrack operator currently controls the largest casino in Illinois, the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. In March, this company purchased a 61% stake in the gambling venue. Almost immediately after the new gambling bill was set in place, this company began preparing to upgrade the casino.
Officials in this company announced they plan to add 800 new gambling positions for their Des Plaines casino. They are also working to obtain a sports betting license. The company officially notified the Illinois Gaming Board of these expansion plans.
Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs, announced several other new plans for this casino, as well. He states that the company will expand the garage, and add more room to the gaming floor.
“Rivers will be working with the Illinois Gaming Board to ascertain what is permissible and to scope out the timing and full capital plan,” Carstanjen said.
This is an exciting time for Illinois’ gambling market. The land-based casinos here are set to expand and over the next few years, several new casinos will begin opening up.
Illinois Goes All-In On Sports Betting
It’s well-known that Illinois has one of the most passionate sporting fan bases in the country. Several professional sports teams call this state home, including the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks. With PASPA now gone, this state quickly began the process of legalizing sports gambling.
Churchill Downs is eager to get in on the regulated sports betting market. Mr. Carstanjen announced that the company will pay $10 million for a sports betting license. Both land-based and online sports gambling will be available through Rivers Casino.
“We’re very excited about the potential of the Illinois sports wagering market,” he said. “We will participate in this new market through our 61% ownership of Rivers and certainly we have the option to do so separately through our horse racing licenses. We will announce our plans soon.”
Hope is that in time, lawmakers in Illinois will also begin to regulate the internet casino gambling industry. There are already a huge number of great online casinos in Illinois, yet none are regulated by the state government. Regulation of this industry would bring in millions of dollars to the state each month.
The Illinois Gaming Board will schedule its next meeting on August 8th. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the meeting after it takes place!