Rush Street Gaming and CDI propose $150m Rivers Casino Waukegan

A new $150m Rivers-branded casino has been proposed for the Illinois city of Waukegan, as local media reports that six groups are vying to construct a new property in the region. 

This follows Governor JB Pritzker rubber stamping a $45bn ‘Rebuild Illinois’ action plan, which included provisions for a significant gaming expansion that will see further new properties pop-up in Rockford, Williamson County, Danville and the South Suburbs.

With the Windy City to see construction of its first land-based establishment, as well as a slots introduction at the Midway and O’Hare Airports, proposals have been submitted by Churchill Downs Incorporated and Rush Street Gaming for Rivers Casino Waukegan.

Both parties, which control the state’s top grossing establishment in Rivers Casino Des Plaines, are proposing building a 1,625-gaming-seat venue, which it states will create over 1,200 permanent jobs, 900 union construction jobs and pump over $150m annually into the economy.

“We are especially proud of our long history of hiring local people and vendors in every market where we have invested. Rush Street spends more than $23 million dollars annually on firms owned by women and minorities,” stated Neil Bluhm, Rush Street Gaming chairman

“We’re especially proud of our diverse workforce and the career opportunities we have provided our associates.

“Waukegan and Lake County deserve a world-class facility and together, with our partner Churchill Downs Incorporated, that is exactly what we will develop. We look forward to sharing more about our proposal with city leaders.”

Striving to create a synergy in the market through opening a second Rivers-branded casino, it is said that prior experience in the market, which sees the Des Plaines property stand as “the most successful casino in Illinois,” will enable a potential new construction to complement, rather than cannibalise, current local video gaming operators.

Furthermore, it’s stated that annual contributions will be made to charities in Waukegan, Park City and North Chicago, with construction proposed at the city-owned 32-acre Fountain Square site.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, commented: “We’re happy to be considered to develop and operate what we know will be a leading entertainment destination for the City of Waukegan, Lake County and the State of Illinois  It would be an honour to bring the Rivers brand and experience to Waukegan.”

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, added: “Churchill Downs Incorporated has a 145-year track record of offering unmatched premium entertainment experiences for horse racing fans, and significant expertise developing premier casino venues for our patrons throughout the United States.

“We are proud to partner with Rush Street Gaming to bring our shared vision for a world-class entertainment destination to Waukegan.”