The 30,000-square-foot expansion at the East St. Louis venue is expected to be completed by December and be located adjacent to the casino floor. DraftKings at Casino Queen currently has 40,000 square feet of casino gaming space and generated more than $20.2 million in casino revenue through the first four months of the year. It also generated nearly $875,000 in sports betting revenue in the first three months of 2021.
“Sports wagering has greatly elevated Illinois gaming and we are creating an environment at DraftKings at Casino Queen to capture that excitement,” said Terry Downey, president and CEO of Casino Queen Holding Inc. “Through our partnership with DraftKings, a cutting-edge sportsbook, and exceptional new dining experiences, we will soon offer a gaming destination that is unmatched in this region.”
The new sportsbook will have lounge-style seating and multiple oversized high-definition TVs for viewing sporting events. Plans for the new dining area include a full-service restaurant as well as a food court that will provide three distinctive quick service dining options. The restaurant’s bar will have a social landing area that leads into the promenade of the casino.
Though retail sports betting has generated only $134 million in handle over the first 12 months it has been available in Illinois — accounting for approximately 3.8% of the $3.6 billion in wagers thus far — the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented gaining a true sense of just how well brick-and-mortar sportsbooks may perform. Casinos were closed for more than three months over two different points last year and are still operating at reduced capacity with mitigation measures still in place.
Since accepting its first over-the-counter wagers last August, DraftKings at Casino Queen has generated nearly $15.8 million in sports betting handle, which ranks third overall in the state. The venue does not get the benefit of drawing bettors from the Chicago metropolitan area, but it does draw patrons from St. Louis as neighboring Missouri does not permit legal sports wagering.
DraftKings at Casino Queen faces regional competition with Argosy Casino Alton and the recently rebranded FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, formerly known as Fairmount Park. All three venues are within 30 miles of each other.
Additionally, retail sports wagering is expected to gain some importance come the fall if SB 521 is approved by the Illinois Senate as expected. The bill, which was already approved by the House, removes the carveout prohibiting wagering on in-state schools and universities, but only allows Tier 1 (pre-game) wagers to be made at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.