Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

While Chicago is beginning to develop casinos, new sites in the suburbs and throughout Illinois are looking to build their own markets. “Convenience is the main factor.” – Chicago Tribune

After years of delays, Illinois’ waning casino gambling industry is looking to make a comeback — not only by building six new casinos across the state, but also by replacing existing riverboats with new land-based resorts in Aurora and Joliet.

Despite the giant casino planned for Chicago, suburban casinos are betting that they not only compete, but thrive with state-of-the-art facilities near busy expressways to attract local gamblers.

New casinos in the northern suburbs Waukegan and Homewood/East Hazel Crest in the southern suburbs, along with Aurora, Elgin and Joliet, they are far enough from the city that they can build their own base of nearby patrons, said Chris Grove, a partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming in California.

“They each have a relatively distinct core audience that they’re going to sell to,” Grove said. “I also don’t think it’s logical that Chicago is drawing from the suburbs. For many consumers…convenience is a major factor.”

While a recent government report warned of oversaturation that cannibalizes the market, Grove said: “I don’t think people would have made such a large capital expenditure if they didn’t foresee growth.”

Driven mainly by sports and video games, Illinois recently came in second in the nation in gambling revenue behind Nevada. The expansion is expected to bring more jobs and tax revenue to the state. Observers warn that it could also lead to increased problem gambling and economic hardship, sometimes for people who can least afford it.

Undeterred by such warnings, lawmakers in 2019 authorized the opening of six new casinos in Chicago, the south suburbs, Danville, Rockford, Waukegan and near Carbondale — along with expansions of existing casinos and video games.

Now these plans are starting to come true. Waukegan plans to open a temporary accommodation until December. Full House Resorts promises it’s permanent American Place Casino will feature an Italian villa hotel with luxury suites and a restaurant “that will rival the best restaurants in Chicago.” Hard Rock Rockford the previous site is already working.

Bali hopes to open a temporary casino at Chicago’s Temple Medina in 2023, with its $1.7 billion permanent complex at the Tribune newsroom and printing site in River North by 2025 slot machines will also be allowed at O’Hare and Midway International Airports.

PENN Entertainment, which owns Hollywood casinos, has joined the party and recently announced plans to build new casinos to replace the old riverboats in Aurora and Jolietwhere revenues in fiscal 2022 remained well below pre-pandemic levels.

Both new projects will be built near major expressways. In Aurora, the $360 million project calls for a state-of-the-art “casino of the future” with an events center, sportsbook and spa, as well as a 200-room hotel.

Hollywood Casino located along the Fox River on October 10, 2022 in Aurora.  Aurora's Hollywood Casino has announced plans to relocate near the Interstate 88 interchange.

Aurora Casino will leave its downtown location to move next to Chicago Premium Outlets on I-88. The city would provide of land and nearly $60 million in financing.

In Joliet, a new $185 million building will be located in the Rock Run Crossings mixed-use project near I-80 and I-55.

“These two projects will significantly enhance our offerings in the highly attractive Chicago market while simultaneously creating hundreds of new full-time jobs for local communities,” said Penn Entertainment CEO Jay Snowden.

For casino owners, the expansion means a chance to regain some of the business they’ve lost in recent years. Gambling is booming in Illinois, but not for the 11 existing casinos.

Tax revenues from gambling increased throughout the state 39% in fiscal 2022 to a record $1.9 billion. The big jump was attributed to a recovery from a COVID-related slump, more video terminals and the second full year of legalized sports betting.

While casino revenues grew by 46%, the total remained below pre-pandemic levels and continued to decline by 20% after video games was legalized a decade ago in bars, restaurants and gas stations across the state. However, Chicago did not legalize video gambling, instead maintaining its market to become the largest American city with a casino. Despite the expansion, the state predicts the increase in casino tax revenue due to the tax rate reduction and market saturation will be “modest at best.”

Thomas Thanos, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said the industry has been hit by video gaming, which has grown to 44,000 terminals — the equivalent of 36 casinos. But the industry has new opportunities in sports betting.

Although the majority of sports betting is done online, Thanos said: “This opens the door to a new generation of gamblers. It’s a young demographic that loves sports betting.”

Professional poker player Chris Moneymaker, fifth from left, with dignitaries before cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new Caesars Sportsbook and Poker Room at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin on October 20, 2022.

The gaming association opposed the casino expansion, arguing that the market was already saturated. Now that the expansion is here, operators are making moves to increase traffic and improve amenities to compete. Thanas also predicted that today’s casinos will try to implement new technologies such as contactless cashless betting, where players can place bets from their phones and manage their accounts online.

While some places like Las Vegas and Chicago will attract a lot of tourists, Thanos said, most casinos depend mostly on customers within a 25-mile radius.

“The gaming industry is very similar to other location-based retail businesses,” Thanos said. “Having a facility that is highly visible and easily accessible, with parking and amenity space, is key to the gaming industry.”

As a prime example, he pointed to the Hard Rock Casino in Gary, which last year moved from downtown Gary to a new location off I-80/94 and is now the top-grossing casino in the state.

In an attempt to outflank its competitors, the existing Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, which was acquired by Caesars Entertainment in 2020, recently opened a new sportsbook and poker room.

Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin.

Former World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker played at the Grand Victoria to promote the grand opening. He said players should welcome the expansion of gambling in Illinois.

“It makes a huge difference because it gives people options,” Moneymaker said. “Having this competition definitely makes it where players have options and a lot more chances for promotion and better opportunities for players to get into the game.”

Elgin customers agreed with Moneymaker.

“It gives me more options where to play, which is good,” said poker player Paul Conway, 75, of Bartlett, who frequents the Grand Victoria but also travels to Hammond for tournaments.

Slot machine player Betty York, 77, of Geneva, said she hoped the competition would bring back more freebies and better payouts. “I think it’s going to get better,” she said.

Mike Strauss, 56, of Streamwood was also looking forward to new poker players.

“We win because of other players’ mistakes,” Strauss said. “You have more fish. They are gambling, it will benefit us.”

A table in the new poker room at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin on October 20, 2022.

Opponents of gambling say that the increase in retail outlets will lead to an increase in gambling addiction.

A government study found that approx It is estimated that 4% of adults in the state have a gambling problem, and in fiscal year 2021, the number of those undergoing treatment nearly doubled. Another 8%—about 761,000 people—are at risk of developing a gambling problem. The state’s Problem Gambling Helpline is 1-800-GAMBLER.

“It’s going to be everywhere,” said the Rev. Shane Hartman Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

He noted that his small town of Iliopolis has only 600 residents but five gambling establishments.

“I can’t imagine myself as a drug addict. It’s on your phone. There is no way out of this.”




Related Articles

Back to top button