Hawthorne Opens Fourth Retail Illinois Sportsbook With PointsBet

Written By Dave Briggs on January 18, 2023
The Crazy Pour is the fourth retail sportsbook in Illinois resulting from a partnership with horse racing's Hawthorne Race Course.

Hawthorne Race Course has opened its fourth retail Illinois sportsbook in partnership with PointsBet.

The sportsbook is located at the Crazy Pour Sports Bar in Villa Park, IL, west of Chicago.

“With a full roster of NFL playoffs, NBA, and NHL games, we couldn’t be more excited to be offering a new destination for Illinois sports fans to enjoy and bet on their favorite sports,” said PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken in a press release. “The PointsBet Retail Sportsbook is part of PointsBet’s continued efforts to expand our footprint in a key state like Illinois, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide the Illinois sports community with another premier location that caters to both sports fans and bettors – and everyone in between.”

Illinois sportsbook has more than 160 high-definition screens

The Crazy Pour is a 400-person capacity bar and restaurant that was already established location for watching horse racing and major sports such as football, basketball, UFC and more.

Its conversion into a PointsBet sportsbook means it now features:

  • A 15,000-square-foot, full-service bar and restaurant.
  • More than 160 high-resolution TVs, including a 26-foot-wide HD display, five 160″ jumbo displays.
  • Three live betting windows.
  • Eight self-service betting kiosks.
  • An LED sports ticker.
  • A private party and VIP room.
  • Fully covered heated patio.

The Crazy Pour also has full-service beverage and dining options. That includes over 150 different whiskeys, seasonal craft beers, pizzas, burgers, “The Legendary Beef Roll” and more.

“We’re building an integrated on-site entertainment experience with great food and drinks and excellent service for the next generation of sports fans,” said Tim Carey, CEO of Hawthorne Race Course, in a press release.

All in support of Illinois horse racing

It’s all in support of the Illinois horse racing industry.

In the 1970s, Chicago was home to seven horse racetracks. Today, Hawthorne, which began offering horse racing in 1891, is the only track still operating in the city. Hawthorne Race Course, located in the Chicago suburb of Stickney, offers both live thoroughbred and standardbred (harness) racing.

The state’s only other live horse racing operator — FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, IL — is four hours southwest, just across the state line from St. Louis, MO.

Hawthorne has been deemed “preliminarily suitable” by the Illinois Gaming Board to open a racino. However, construction has yet to begin on that $400 million project. A front-page story in the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 20 said the racino was originally supposed to have opened in 2021.

That has the state’s horse racing industry concerned about the future, especially since Churchill Downs Inc. closed much-loved Arlington International Racecourse in 2021 as part of a plan to sell the site to the Chicago Bears to use to build a new stadium.

The death of Arlington has left the standardbred and thoroughbred industry sharing Hawthorne while they wait for a lifeline the racino would bring in terms of funding higher race purses.

It has not been an ideal schedule for either breed. This year, thoroughbreds will race from March 4-Sept 4 and the standardbreds from Sept. 9-Dec. 31. Both breeds will experience long layoffs during the year.

“Horse racing is dying in Illinois, while in other states that have racinos, it’s flourishing,” Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association executive director David McCaffrey told The Tribune.

Photo by Courtesy PointsBet
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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