The Ameristar Casino East Chicago announced on Thursday its plans to open a Barstool Sportsbook.
East Chicago is in Indiana, only about a half-hour away from downtown Chicago. So, those looking to bet in Chicago with Barstool in person will have a convenient option.
Barstool still hasn’t launched in Illinois, but the Indiana site figures to be its most popular retail location among Illinoisans, even once Barstool IL is live here.
With that said, the Ameristar is closer to Chicago than either Hollywood Casino. Both Hollywood locations are at least 45 minutes from downtown.
While it’s not a huge difference in commute time, Barstool now has a prime retail spot for Chicagoans and suburbanites. Aurora and Joliet are two of the five biggest cities in Illinois and are close to the populous western suburbs.
Ameristar East, like the Hollywood casinos, is owned by Penn National Gaming.
Will Chicagoans be able to bet with Barstool at the Ameristar soon? It’s certainly possible.
Indiana casinos are still open
The Ameristar East Sportsbook is open as we speak, though it’s not officially a Barstool Sportsbook yet. The Barstool branding will supposedly be coming “soon,” though we don’t have an exact date.
Details will be announced soon! https://t.co/2vbhiWYkqb
— Ameristar EC (@AmeristarEC) December 10, 2020
It’s worth noting that it doesn’t look like Illinois casinos will be reopening in the immediate future.
COVID-19 positivity rates are about 10%, the highest they’ve been since the spring.
Technically, Chicagoans are supposed to quarantine for 14 days if they cross the Indiana border and come back. But enforcement of that rule has been lacking, to say the least.
It’s also possible that Indiana casinos close soon, particularly the Ameristar. Indiana has a color system that indicates how dire a COVID-19 situation is, based on county. The Ameristar is in a “red” county, the most dangerous possible color. All Indiana casinos are currently in “red” or “orange” status, the second-worst color.
With that said, Indiana has been much more willing to keep businesses open during the pandemic than Illinois. Still, it’s a possibility that Indiana casinos could shut down again.
Barstool primed to have a big Chicago presence
Barstool plans to go live in Illinois in 2021.
There are a lot of reasons it could succeed in the Land of Lincoln.
With the Ameristar move, Barstool figures to have key retail locations close to downtown Chicago and the suburbs. Barstool also has a notable Chicago media presence. Its Barstool Chicago brand has a significant following in the state.
The Illinois market also isn’t overly crowded yet. As of now, there are five online sportsbooks, a small number considering it’s the No. 4 betting market in the US.
It will be interesting to see what 2021 has in store for the “Stoolies” in Illinois.