The beginning of the week saw Des Plaines’ City Council give its approval to the Rivers Casino’s planned expansion that has been estimated at $87 million.
Now, the project, which is seeking to add a poker room, a larger number of gambling machines, a restaurant and an events center to the venue, will have to get the green light from the state’s gambling regulatory body – the Illinois Gaming Board – in order to proceed as planned. Previously unveiled expansion plans seek a two-story construction to be established between the existing casino venue and the four-story garage adjacent to the property. The poker room is planned to be situated on the second floor, while gambling areas hosted on the ground level of the venue are also set to be subject to expansion.
Dennis Culloton, a spokesperson for the Rivers Casino, explained that a Gaming Board vote on the matter has not been scheduled yet, but the project has been already presented to them. In case it gets the regulatory approval, the expansion will bring new 78,000 sq. feet to the casino building that is currently situated on a total of 140,363 sq. feet.
According to documents filed to city authorities by the casino operator, such a step would expand the overall gambling space by 33,000, while the gambling positions’ number would rise from 699 to 2,000.
Proposed Expansion of Rivers Casino Could Be Completed in 2022
Rivers Casino’s representative reminded that existing casinos were allowed to boost the number of their table games and slot machines to 2,000 under the provisions of the 2019 gambling expansion legislation. The casino has already added some new gaming positions shortly after the state authorities passed the law.
As revealed by Todd Shaffer of Haeger Engineering, the company that is currently handling the expansion project of Rivers Casino, the planned events center is set to occupy 10,100 square feet on the second floor of the venue. The new restaurant is to be hosted on the first floor.
If the Illinois Gaming Board gives its approval to the expansion, construction works could start in the spring of 2021 and are expected to take approximately a year to be completed. As the casino revealed, the new areas situated on the ground level could start welcoming players in January 2022, while the second-story gaming areas are expected to be finalized in March 2022.
The casino is set to remain operational during construction works.
Des Plaines City Council has now unanimously approved the requested changes unveiled by the development plans of Rivers Casino, to pave the way for the gambling operator’s desired expansion. Before the Council members had their vote, one of the aldermen, Malcolm Chester, openly backed the proposal, describing it as greatly beneficial for the city and its residents.
The plans for expansion at the Rivers Casino have been set out at a time when the Arlington International Racecourse is preparing to cease operation for good.