Rush Street Gaming Billionaire Neil Bluhm Bullish on Online Casinos

Posted on: January 13, 2021, 10:47h. 

Last updated on: January 13, 2021, 12:52h.

Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm, who controls Rush Street Gaming, says his publicly traded interactive gaming unit is more focused on internet casinos than sports betting.

Rush Street online casino Neil Bluhm
Windy City billionaire real estate and casino tycoon Neil Bluhm expects online gaming to expand in the coming years. His Rush Street Interactive hopes to go live in new states in 2021. (Image: Chicago Sun-Times)

Rush Street Interactive (RSI) went public last year on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have flourished, its price more than doubling over the past six months.

Bluhm says RSI is only getting started. The real estate and casino magnate believes the financial effects of COVID-19 on state governments will result in more moving to legalize full online gambling.

Very few states have allowed [online casinos] so far, but they need revenue now, so many states are considering it,” Bluhm told Forbes. “They’re all looking at it because they’re desperate for revenue and jobs.

“Sports betting is getting all the attention, but we’re projecting that online casinos will be more valuable,” he added.

Online Gaming Untapped

There are currently 13 states plus DC that permit their licensed oddsmakers to take bets remotely from sports bettors inside their borders. But only four allow gamblers to play slot machines, poker, and other table games from the comfort of their own homes. They are Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Americans continue to be urged to stay home when possible and avoid large indoor gatherings. States with legalized gambling reap critical financial tax revenue benefits. But much of that forecast and budgeted money didn’t arrive in state capitals in 2020.

We’re growing like a weed and we’re adding states all the time,” Bluhm continued. “The growth potential is tremendous.”

Bluhm controls 54 percent of RSI, worth an estimated $2.3 billion. Shares are up more than six percent as of midday trading today.

Rush Street Interactive is operational in eight states. These include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Rushing the Market

Along with investing heavily in the interactive gaming space, Bluhm’s Rush Street Gaming is buying into new casino markets.

Rush Street Gaming remains privately held by Bluhm and his partners. The casino group owns and operates four land-based casinos under its Rivers brand. Two are in Pennsylvania, and there’s one each in New York and Illinois.

Rush is moving forward with a casino in Virginia. Voters in Portsmouth backed a ballot referendum during the November election that authorizes a gaming facility in the Hampton Roads town.

Rush Street Gaming was selected as Portsmouth’s casino operator. The gaming and hospitality company plans to spend $300 million to build a hotel, casino, indoor and outdoor concert spaces, numerous restaurants, and conference facilities.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth, as the development is called, will be the catalyst for what’s being dubbed the Victory Boulevard Entertainment District.

Rush Street is also mulling a bid for the downtown Chicago integrated resort casino license. The company responded to the Second City’s request for information last fall.

Bluhm is also an investor in Midwest Gaming, an entity bidding for the Waukegan casino license in Illinois.