Illinois: Rivers Casino Des Plaines moves to add 725 gaming positions, poker room

The casino, jointly owned by Rush Street Gaming and Churchill Downs Incorporated, filed plans with the state regulator and city officials to build a two-story $87M addition that will house a poker room, additional gaming areas, a ballroom for events, and a new restaurant.

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) said Wednesday that Rivers Casino Des Plaines has filed expansion plans with the City of Des Plaines and Illinois Gaming Board that, if approved, will allow the casino to add approximately 725 gaming positions, making it the first to have the state’s maximum number of 2,000 positions.

The proposed two-story addition will house a poker room, additional gaming areas, a ballroom for events, and a new restaurant. Rivers is jointly owned by Rush Street Gaming and Churchill Downs Incorporated. If approved, construction can begin this spring and be completed by spring 2022.

The $87 million 78,000 square-foot expansion will be built between the existing casino building and the recently enlarged parking garage on the north side of the property. The first floor of the addition will house a new restaurant and an expanded gaming floor for slots and table games. The second floor will feature a 24-table poker room; a 10,000 square-foot

ballroom for private events and live entertainment, and a slot machine gaming area.

“With this proposed expansion, we will be able to offer our guests more of the entertainment and dining options they enjoy, additional gaming opportunities and a long-desired poker room,” said CEO Greg Carlin, co-founder of Rush Street Gaming. “We have always offered a first-class experience for our guests. As the economy re-opens, we’re excited to raise the bar and provide them with an even better experience.”

“Rivers is Illinois’ most popular casino destination, and with this expansion we are continuing to focus on our guests to earn their loyalty,” said Corey Wise, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Rivers Casino. “We were the first casino to become land-based to expand our gaming floor. BetRivers was the state’s first sportsbook to open and we provided fans with the state’s first mobile sports betting option. When complete, we will be the first casino in Illinois to offer our guests 2,000 gaming positions.”

Initially, the expansion plan calls for the addition of 260 table game positions (a 70 percent increase) and will add 439 slot game positions (a 48 percent increase). Under the current plan, the property will have 26 additional gaming positions to allocate in the future. Rivers will pay the State of Illinois $24 million in gaming position licensing fees in June 2021.

The plan is subject to regulatory approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. The City of Des Plaines must also approve the addition, and representatives for Rivers will begin that formal zoning process in late February.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines

DMA’s support of this development began with the client’s successful effort to secure the 10th and “last” Illinois gaming license. We led entitlement work to establish a new zoning district in Des Plaines. Our design and procurement schedule minimized up-front expenditures and prepared for rapid progress on the 21-acre site once approvals and financing were secured.

DMA led complex design team efforts that included a highly detailed interior with 1,200 gaming positions, situated above a state-mandated water requirement. We sequenced the relocation of existing tenants and environmental remediation, demolition, and recycling of existing buildings to prolong revenue generation. Full-time, onsite DMA staff oversaw construction. Despite an unusually snowy winter and a three-week, Chicago-wide construction union strike, the project opened one month early and significantly under budget.

Rivers Casino includes Hugo’s Frog Bar and six other food and beverage options. The 1,560-car parking structure boasts an innovative, customer-friendly guidance system procured at extremely low cost. The project achieved LEED Gold certificationthe first casino in the world to do so. Ongoing operations continue to benefit from the building’s energy efficiencies. Rivers Casino is also one of the highest grossing casinos in the country on a per position basis.

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