Illinois Rivers Casino Des Plaines Plans Casino Expansion Project

Posted on: February 18, 2021, 12:16h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2021, 10:12h.

The owners of Rivers Casino Des Plaines announced Wednesday plans to dramatically increase the size of the suburban Chicago casino.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines
A rendering of the proposed expansion for Rivers Casino Des Plaines. Its owners plan to invest $87 million and add about 725 slot machine and table game seats as part of a 78,000-square-foot addition. (Image: Globe Newswire/Churchill Downs Inc.)

In a press release, Churchill Downs Inc. revealed plans to invest $87 million for a 78,000-square-foot expansion project. The two-story addition would add about 725 new gaming seats and make Rivers the first casino in Illinois to reach the state limit of 2,000.

Churchill Downs owns the casino in partnership with Rush Street Gaming. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, Rivers is by far the largest generator of tax dollars emanating from one of the 10 brick-and-mortar casinos currently in operation.

The project requires approval from both the city of Des Plaines and the IGB. Both agencies have received plans for the expansion, the Churchill Downs statement read. In addition, the casino will begin applying for local zoning approval later this month.

If approved, construction could begin as early as this spring. Casino owners expect the work to take about a year to complete.

New Amenities

Among the new amenities in the planned expansion is a 24-table poker room, which Carlin said had been “long desired.”

The expansion will bridge the existing casino and connect it to the parking garage. The first floor will include a restaurant and additional room for table games, as well as slots. The second floor will contain the poker room, a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, and more slot machines.

Based on the current plan, Rivers will add 260 table game positions, which will represent a 70 percent increase. For slots, the casino plans to add 439 new machines, a 48 percent increase.

Rivers officials will determine how to handle the remaining 26 gaming slots in the future. The release stated the casino will pay the state $24 million in gaming position licensing fees in June.

Illinois Mega-Revenue Earner

According to data from the IGB, Rivers Des Plaines is the biggest casino in Illinois in terms of admissions and revenue.

Like most casinos nationwide, Rivers Des Plaines remains under COVID-19 restrictions, which limit the number of available gaming positions and the casino’s capacity. Gov. J.B. Pritzker had ordered the casinos closed in November because of spikes in COVID cases. That order was lifted last month.

Last month, 43,439 people visited Rivers during the 13 days it was open. The $8.7 million in adjusted gross revenue was more than twice as much as the next-largest casino, the Grand Victoria ($3.3 million).

The $8.7 million in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) represented a third of the revenues Illinois casinos generated last month. The nearly $3 million coming from table games represented 54.5 percent of the statewide table game win.

In 2019, more than 2.9 million patrons visited the casino, and Rivers Des Plaines reported an AGR of $450.5 million.

Just how big is Rivers? In 2019, it produced more tax revenue for the state, $174.2 million, than Harrah’s produced in casino AGR ($171.6 million).

“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, Rivers Des Plaines senior vice president, and general manager.