Union Gaming recently determined that, of the five potential spots for a casino in Chicago, Illinois, not a single one of them works. While this may have been a temporary setback in a plan to reinvigorate the local economy, the outlook isn’t entirely bleak. Chicagoans who want to place wagers on sporting events are soon going to have their chance – they’ll just have to drive a little ways into Indiana.
Penn National Gaming is opening a sportsbook at Indiana’s Ameristar Casino East Chicago. Despite having Chicago in its name, it’s not in Illinois. East Chicago is in Indiana across the border, about 23 miles from the Chicago in Illinois.
The sportsbook is expected to go live on September 1, according to an announcement from Penn National. This is just in time for the start of the NFL regular season on September 5 and is certain to make sports gambling fans in the area extremely happy. The sportsbook is going to offer a “state-of-the-art” wagering experience that includes betting kiosks and ticket writer stations that will support “thousands” of sports gambling options.
Penn National CEO Timothy J. Wilmott states, “Penn National looks forward to opening a sports book and providing our customers with another great amenity at Ameristar Casino East Chicago. Indiana will soon become the 12th state to legalize sports betting following the repeal of the federal ban last year, and our patrons in Northwest Indiana can expect an incredible sports wagering experience at our facility.”
On hand for the launch will be a couple of recognizable Chicago faces. Mike Ditka, the former head coach of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, and former Bears wide receiver and special teams phenomenon Devin Hester will be on hand to inaugurate the new sportsbook.
The GM for Ameristar, Matt Schuffert, says of the new sports gambling activity, “Our customers are very excited to start wagering on sports. The passion for Indiana and Illinois sports teams runs deep in this region, and we look forward to becoming a destination for fans all year-round.”
The news has given Penn National’s stock a welcome boost, as well. In yesterday’s trading, the company’s stock price increased almost 5% after a drop that started last week. Last Friday, the stock traded at $17.47 and was up to $18.28 by the end of trading yesterday.