The highly anticipated, $445 million dollar Rivers Casino, opened today (Monday 7/18/11), in Des Plaines just outside of Chicago. The new casino is a 20-acre site located at the corner of Des Plaines River Road and Devon Avenue. So many flocked to the casino today for its grand-opening, it was almost overwhelming. Traffic was backed-up and it seems the demand was higher than expected.
Rivers Casino is slated to be one of the state’s largest gambling facilities, projections estimate $260 million in receipts during its first year. If this holds true, it would be the second highest earning casino, second to The Grand Victoria located in Elgin, which generated gross revenues of $287 million in 2010.
The casino added 1,000 jobs to the area, making them among the top three employers in Des Plaines. However, some have doubt about just how much revenue the new casino will add to the struggling state’s bottom line, due to the timing of its opening. In a troubled economy, the initial excitement may be overshadowed by this reality; many people just don’t have the funds to gamble like in the past.
Some also are worried about the possibility Gov. Pat Quinn may sign a massive gambling expansion bill, opening the door for much more competition. But that could take time to set in motion, especially when dealing with all the government “red tape”.
Acting city Manager released a statement saying, “What the casino helps do for Des Plaines is it puts us on the map. What that looks like in the future, we don’t exactly know at this point.” However, at this moment they are celebrating and hoping it will boost their areas expansion and economy, even if it’s temporary.
But if the new casino does what it has for Aurora and Elgin, incredible growth is highly likely. Des Plaines may already have seen a spurt, because since the news of the casino’s opening, it has gotten more inquiries from developers this year, than in the past. Reports suggest the new casino is expected to generate $150 million in annual revenue for the state.
Today so many patrons attended the grand-opening, they considered having them take alternative routes. But let’s see how long that lasts. And how will this casino impact other area casino’s? Will it just be a wash? I’m sure The Hollywood and The Grand Victoria are nervous to see.
Rivers Casino is located at 3000 S. Des Plaines River Road, Des Plaines, IL www.playrivers.com.