Certain aspects of Rivers Casino’s $87 million expansion plan have already come to life, and a poker room is on the way soon.
Rivers is expected to open its poker room this spring, and it should be immensely popular in Illinois. The Land of Lincoln only has three poker rooms at the moment, and Rivers is an ideal location for a fourth.
By revenue, Rivers is the most popular casino in Illinois. Therefore, its 22-table poker room should draw plenty of interest.
CEO Greg Carlin, the co-founder of Rush Street Gaming, said at the time of the expansion announcement:
“With this proposed expansion, we will be able to offer our guests more of the entertainment and dining options they enjoy, additional gaming opportunities and a long-desired poker room. We have always offered a first-class experience for our guests. As the economy reopens, we’re excited to raise the bar and provide them with an even better experience.”
The Rivers expansion involves two floors, and the first is already complete. On Jan. 24, an Asian-themed restaurant and expanded gaming space opened.
In total, the casino expansion spans 78,000 square feet. And the poker room is the crown jewel.
Rivers has big Chicagoland ambitions
Rivers is already a giant in the Chicagoland area, and it is looking to enhance its brand in a significant way.
It is responsible for two of Chicago’s five megacasino proposals. One would be located at McCormick Place, while the other would be at “The 78” development site near Chinatown and the south loop.
The 78 site, in particular, looks to have a strong chance of winning the bidding process. Bally’s put forth two proposals, while Hard Rock also submitted one.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is expected to announce the winning bidder in April, which could be around the same time the Des Plaines poker room opens its doors.
Vaxxed and relaxed?
On Feb. 28, the state of Illinois will drop its indoor mask mandate, which applies to casinos.
But Rivers is in Cook County, where there is also currently a vaccine mandate. There isn’t one in the rest of Illinois.
However, Cook County plans to drop its mask and vaccine mandates as well, meaning neither will be required at Rivers starting next week.
Of course, it remains to be seen if these changes are permanent, as the COVID-19 pandemic trajectory has been difficult to predict in the past to say the least.
Business has been booming for Rivers Des Plaines regardless, but one would expect these changes to attract even more patrons. As will a brand new poker room.