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Rivers Casino Waukegan Proposed by State’s Most Successful Casino Owners

Vlad Poptamas



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Reading Time: 5 minutes

The developer, operator and owners of the state’s most successful casino, Rivers Casino Des Plaines, which earns more than twice as much gaming revenue as any other casino in the state, are teaming up to propose building a 1,625-gaming-seat Rivers Casino Waukegan. Rivers Casino Waukegan expects to create over 1,200 permanent jobs; 900 union construction jobs and pump over $150 million annually into the local Waukegan and Lake County economy.

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) and Rush Street Gaming, which jointly own Rivers Casino Des Plaines, would bring their combined expertise as developers and operators of some of the most successful gambling and entertainment venues in the country to Waukegan at the Fountain Square site at Lakehurst and Northpoint Boulevard. The companies say their proven marketing and customer service approach will attract high-end patrons to Waukegan.

Rush Street, the creator of the Rivers Casino brand, is the leading developer of world-class regional casinos in Des Plaines, New York state, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In addition to its premier position in Illinois, Rivers is the market leader in the Capital Region of New York state as well as in Pittsburgh.

CDI is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company anchored by its flagship event – The Kentucky Derby. The company owns and operates 10 regional gaming facilities in eight states, as well as Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights.

Opening a second Rivers-branded casino in Waukegan creates a synergy in the market. Rivers, with a premier reputation among its customers, would bring Illinois’ leading gaming brand and proven record to Waukegan, delivering a tremendous benefit to the city that no other applicant can offer.

Other benefits and highlights of the proposal to bring Rivers Casino to Waukegan are:

  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the most successful casino in Illinois and hosted 2.9 million admissions in 2018. Its extensive patron database will help to attract players from throughout the region to Rivers Casino Waukegan, complementing—rather than cannibalizing—current local video gaming operators.
  • Rush Street Interactive, recognized by industry publisher EGR (e-gaming review) as Mobile Operator of the Year for North America, will operate in-casino and online sports betting for the proposed showplace. Affiliates of Rush Street operate the most successful sports books in Pennsylvania and New York.
  • The casino would feature Luxbar, an upscale gastropub, the first Gibsons Restaurant Group restaurant in Lake County.
  • The casino would have 1,625 proposed gaming seats, including a poker room, at the opening with the flexibility to add more.
  • CDI and Rush Street are offering to purchase or lease the city-owned Fountain Square property.
  • Rivers Casino Waukegan will make annual contributions to charities in Waukegan, Park City and North Chicago.
  • Rivers Casino Des Plaines is the first and only casino in Illinois to comply with a statutory minority- and women-ownership requirement. Rivers Casino Waukegan will use that experience to build strong minority- and women-ownership participation for the new venture. Rush Street also encourages diversity in its ranks, with 46 percent of employees and 28 percent of executives being persons of color.

“We’re happy to be considered to develop and operate what we know will be a leading entertainment destination for the City of Waukegan, Lake County and the State of Illinois,” said Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin. “It would be an honor to bring the Rivers brand and experience to Waukegan.”

“We are especially proud of our long history of hiring local people and vendors in every market where we have invested. Rush Street spends more than $23 million dollars annually on firms owned by women and minorities,” said Rush Street Gaming Chairman Neil Bluhm. “We’re especially proud of our diverse workforce and the career opportunities we have provided our associates.”

“Waukegan and Lake County deserve a world-class facility and together, with our partner Churchill Downs Incorporated, that is exactly what we will develop,” said Bluhm. “We look forward to sharing more about our proposal with city leaders.”

“Churchill Downs Incorporated has a 145-year track record of offering unmatched premium entertainment experiences for horse racing fans and significant expertise developing premier casino venues for our patrons throughout the United States,” said Bill Carstanjen, Chief Executive Officer of CDI. “We are proud to partner with Rush Street Gaming to bring our shared vision for a world-class entertainment destination to Waukegan.”

About Rush Street Gaming
Founded by Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin, Rush Street Gaming and its affiliates, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, have developed and operate successful casinos in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Des Plaines, Illinois (Chicago area) and Schenectady, New York.  Rush Street Gaming and its affiliates has become one of the leading casino developers in the United States and operators of online casinos and sports books. Additional information at:

About Churchill Downs Incorporated
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is an industry-leading racing, online wagering and gaming entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby. We own and operate Derby City Gaming, a historical racing machine facility in Louisville. We also own and operate the largest online horseracing wagering platform in the U.S.,, and are a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 11,000 slot machines / video lottery terminals and 200 table games in eight states. We also operate sports wagering and iGaming through our BetAmerica platform in multiple states. Additional information about CDI can be found online at

Information set forth in this news release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”), which provides certain “safe harbor” provisions. All forward-looking statements made in this presentation are made pursuant to the Act. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations; online security risk, including cyber-security breaches; inability to recover under our insurance policies for damages sustained at our properties in the event of inclement weather and casualty events; increases in insurance costs and inability to obtain similar insurance coverage in the future; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; payment-related risks, such as risk associated with fraudulent credit card and debit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; our inability to utilize and provide totalisator services; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; changes in regulatory environment of our online horseracing business; increase in competition in our online horseracing; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our online wagering business; legalization of online sports betting and iGaming in the United States and our ability to predict and capitalize on any such legalization; inability to expand our sports betting operations and effectively compete; failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment with respect to our mobile and online wagering products; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; costs, delays, and other uncertainties relating to the  development and expansion of casinos; and concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs.

Vlad Poptamas is a Junior Content Editor at European Gaming Media and at PICANTE Media and covers a large variety of industries among which the gaming industry. Vlad has a background and possesses skills that enable him to do creative content writing and editing.

Latest News

YGAM and Caesars Entertainment help pioneer first degree course in Social Change

George Miller



YGAM and Caesars Entertainment help pioneer first degree course in Social Change
GAM’s undergraduate apprentice, Nadia Tarik
Reading Time: 2 minutes


YGAM, the UK charity that works to inform, educate and safeguard young people against problematic gambling and social gaming, has joined forces with Caesars Entertainment EMEA and Queen Mary University of London to participate in a ground breaking apprenticeship degree course in ‘Social Change’ which has attracted six times more applicants per place than Oxford University. The four-year BSc course comprises two days of study per week with the remaining time spent working with the chosen charity. YGAM’s undergraduate apprentice is 22 year-old Nadia Tarik whose post as Development Officer is being funded by Caesars Entertainment EMEA.

Expanding on its involvement in the pioneering initiative, Sarah Sculpher, Chief Marketing Officer at Caesars Entertainment EMEA says, “Educating on the potential risks of problem gambling is a core facet of our business strategy. Caesars Entertainment has worked extensively with, and provided ongoing financial support to, the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) to promote education and awareness around gambling since its inception. We are tremendously supportive of educating young people about gambling related harm to support the prevention of gambling related problems. Our £50,000 donation over two years will fully fund Nadia’s London living wage role and support costs with YGAM.

Sculpher continues: “Social responsibility is hugely important for all businesses, but particularly so in a business such as gaming, which is exciting but also carries an element of risk. Education is key. It is an integral part of our business strategy to educate and train all our front-line team members on the importance of social responsibility and to ensure that our customers enjoy their casino entertainment in a safe, welcoming and entertaining environment. Education is also at the heart of our long term partnership with YGAM. We support them with financial resources which enables them to recruit people to provide more education where needed in the community, making a real difference to people’s lives. We look forward to watching Nadia’s progress and the positive impact she has.”

Lee Willows, co-founder and CEO of YGAM is delighted the charity has been invited to help spearhead the first degree course in Social Change and that Caesars Entertainment EMEA is helping to facilitate the journey. He stated: “The partnership between the social sector, further education and the commercial world is invigorating and a force for really positive social change. I am extremely grateful to Caesars who share our vision and I am delighted that YGAM, which was formed just five years ago, is being spoken about in the same breath as fellow Social Change degree partners, the Scouts, WaterAid, Action for Children and the Alzheimer’s Society. It is a great privilege to help progress this important development which will help forge pathways into the communities that we serve thanks to the energy and dynamism of student/apprentices such as Nadia and the vision and support of progressive business leaders such as Caesars.”

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Industry News

Which payment methods can Germany rely on for gambling in the future?

George Miller



Which payment methods can Germany rely on for gambling in the future?
Reading Time: 2 minutes


German players will have to continue playing online casino games without PayPal. The online financial service has cut ties with internationally licensed operators after an injunction was served by the government on October 21st. Transactions to and from online casinos will no longer be available as a result. Several sites such as iGaming Business, have reported that products without authorization by state jurisdictions will be banned.

With German residents restricted from using PayPal as a deposit option for online casinos, we ask what the future holds as far as payment methods goes in Germany. 

Online gambling in Germany

Online gambling is legal in the local state of Schleswig-Holstein, which issues online casino licenses for operators. Between 2008 and 2012, this was the only state where gambling was allowed in the country. In an attempt to open up the market, new rules came into effect in 2012 on a state by state basis. But this has led to more confusion among players trying to make sense of the strict regulations put in place.

While there is a crackdown on the online casinos in the country, sports betting is still available with PayPal. To get a better understanding of what is really going on we asked Thomas Hahn, German gambling market expert at Leadstar Media, to clarify matters.

“The issue is for companies operating both casino and sportsbook under the same umbrella, if the two are associated with each other, they are not allowed to offer PayPal as a payment option any longer.”

Some online gambling operators have therefore separated their online casino product and sportsbooks. According to their site, german betting sites with PayPal is still a viable option for the players. 

When asked what this means for them as an affiliate, he said:

“The German market is a big one for us, so obviously it hasn’t gone unnoticed as this is kind of a big deal in Germany. We’ve had to make some changes to stay up to date with the current bookmakers that offer PayPal as well as the online casinos we list on It’s too early yet for us to see any impact of this, but Germany is a country that adapts swiftly to new trends. As long as we update our visitors with the latest information in regards to this and offer other solutions, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative impact on us. ” 

The future of online gambling in Germany

Online casinos are still not allowed to market towards consumers outside of Schleswig-Holstein, but that might soon change. The remaining 15 states in Germany have plans to license online sports betting in the coming years. June 30th 2021 has been earmarked as the date for states to have reached a consensus. 

Whether or not PayPal’s new German terms of service will still be effective by then is unknown at this point. New payment methods have the potential to rise in Germany, leading to a battleground in terms of market share.  

Right now, exciting payment providers such as Trustly and Klarna are options available to the German market and are set to increase in popularity with PayPal out of the equation. On top of that the likes of Apple Pay and Google Pay are also well placed to benefit in the future.

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Central Europe

Local Authorities in Bratislava Introduce New Restrictions on Gambling

Niji Narayan



Local Authorities in Bratislava Introduce New Restrictions on Gambling
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Reading Time: < 1 minute


Local authorities in Bratislava have introduced new restrictions on gambling in the Slovak capital. Changes to the National Gambling Act which came into force earlier this year have allowed municipalities to take action against the dangerous vice.

As per the latest restrictions, gambling halls can no longer operate within 200 meters of schools or other educational facilities, institutions servicing children and youth and treatment centres for non-substance addictions.

Bingo, board games, gambling machines, video game terminals, technical equipment operated directly by players, or other technical equipment used for gambling will be completely banned from use on certain dates – most notably during national holidays.

Currently, a petition for a complete ban on gambling in Bratislava is underway and it has already gathered over 100,000 signatures. In September, Matúš Vallo, mayor of the Slovak capital announced the creation of a new working group that will be communicating with citizens and civil association and trying to answer their concerns.

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