First OTB Site in Illinois Opens in Crestwood

Handful of Money With a Sportsbook Background
The newly remodeled Club Hawthorne in Crestwood opened the first non-casino, off-track betting site with a sportsbook in Illinois last week.

Club Hawthorne boasts of a 163-inch HERO LED video wall, two dozen 75-inch TV screens throughout the viewing area, and a state of the art audio system. The venue has leather couches, captain’s chairs, and highboy tables for patrons, with a post COVID-19 capacity of up to 500 people.

The venue shares a building with an off-track retail betting shop which the horse track has operated since 1989 at 13148 Rivercrest Drive. The sportsbook is a partnership between Hawthorne and PointsBet.

Said PointsBet Midwest senior business operations manager Michael Teal:

“This is going to be a place where people can come down with their buddies and enjoy the game.”

First of its Kind

The owners of the new Illinois sports betting shop is advertising the venue as among the first in the country and the first of its kind in Illinois. Other sports betting shops in the state are located at casinos and racetracks.

Hawthorne and Fairmont Park are the only horse tracks licensed for Illinois sports betting.The OTB site in Crestwood is one of three OTB locations where Hawthorne is allowed to conduct legal Illinois sports betting activities as part of the Sports Wagering Act signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker in 2018. Eventually, Hawthorne will also operate OTB sites in Prospect Heights and Oakbrook Terrace.

American Pro Sports are Main Sources of Bets

American Pro Sports like the NFL, MLB, and MBA are the main sources of Illinois sports betting, accounting for about $600M of the state’s total $941.7M total handle through October. College sports and Motosports accounted for $100M apiece. Online Illinois sports betting began in June 2020 and it accounted for $873.7M of the total handle with the remaining $68M worth of bets wagered in person.

The state is capturing 15% of sports betting revenues via taxes. The taxes collected from sports betting will help pay for public parks, schools, libraries, and various capital projects other than roads and bridges.

Here’s a Look at the Hawthorne Race Track’s New Casino

The state of Illinois has been working hard to expand its gambling industry. Lawmakers here feel that increasing the regulated gambling platforms here will help bring the state valuable revenue. We’re now beginning to hear more about the Hawthorne Race Track’s new casino, set to be the first “racino” in Illinois.Hawthorne Race Track

Many are excited to see this gambling venue open up. Hawthorne Race Track is one of the most historic horse racing arenas in the state. Today, we’re going to talk about what the track’s new casino will have to offer.

Let’s get into it!

Looking Back at Illinois’ Gambling Expansion Plans

2020 has been a tough year for the US land-based casino industry. Casino companies across the country are seeing their revenue earnings drop. Just a year ago, however, this industry was thriving and many states were focusing on increasing their number of casinos.

That certainly applies to Illinois. Back in mid-2019, lawmakers here approved a new capital plan that allows for many new casinos to be built around the state. This bill even approves a new casino to be constructed in the city of Chicago.

The global pandemic has delayed some of the state’s gambling expansion plans. Hope was that construction on some of these new casinos would be underway by now. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

In March of 2020, Governor Pritzker officially signed a new bill to legalize and regulate sports betting. Under the new laws, both in-person and online sports betting will become legal here. To the enjoyment of many sports fans, betting options will even become available inside major sporting venues such as Wrigley Field.

Several new casinos will begin opening up in Illinois over the next few years. Obviously, gambling fans here are excited about this news. News is just coming out that one of the most historic race tracks in the state is set to open a new casino, as well.

More Details On the Hawthorne Race Track’s New Casino Are Coming Out!

As we already mentioned, Illinois recently approved a new measure to allow new casinos to open throughout the state. Some of these casinos will be standalone gambling venues. Others will open inside race tracks.

Today, the Illinois Gaming Board officially approved the Hawthorne Race Track’s new casino plans. The owners of the state’s oldest horse race track have been pushing to open a casino for years. They believe adding more gambling options will help to bring in more players from Illinois and other nearby states.

Dakota Schultz, the Director of Communications at the Hawthorne Race Course, expressed his excitement about this news to the media this week.

“We’ll have a full blown casino- I mean it’s slots, it’s table games, we’ll have dining amenities featuring some of Chicago’s, you know, well known culinary brands. Plus racing which no other casino has. So, we’re really excited for the first racing casino,” Schultz said. 

That’s not the only good news for this track. Hawthorne also gained approval from the Gaming Board to begin offering sports betting options, as well.

The current plan is for the track’s casino to open within a year and a half. Sports betting options should become available here in time for football season. We’ll continue offering updates on this new casino over the next few months!

What’s Happening With the Chicago Casino?

There’s been a tremendous amount of media attention surrounding the new casino in Chicago. It’s set to be the first major gambling venue ever built in the city. For more than a year, lawmakers have been trying to find a suitable company to operate this casino.

Most casino companies were staying away. For reasons unknown, Illinois set extremely high tax rates on this casino. Under the initial plans, it would have been almost impossible for any companies to profit off their gambling venue.

About a month ago, Governor Pritzker approved a measure to lower the tax rate for the Chicago casino. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is certainly eager to get this venue constructed. She’s come up with five potential locations for this new gaming venue.

It’s still unclear which company will take control of this proposed casino. With the tax rates now lowered, this is starting to look like a much more appealing project.

We now have confirmation that the Hawthorne Race Track’s new casino is on its way. Based on what’s being said, this may become one of the most popular new gambling venues in the state.

Are you excited to see more casinos opening in Illinois? When do you expect the Chicago casino to open? Let us know in the comments section below!