Hawthorne Race Course And PointsBet Open Retail Sportsbook In Downtown Chicago

The wait is over. Sportsbook operator PointsBet has opened the newest retail sportsbook in Illinois in partnership with Hawthorne Race Course. The facility is also the closest in-person sports betting venue to downtown Chicago. The opening of this retail sportsbook is just a teaser as the company intends to establish a premium PointsBet Sportsbook as part of the upcoming $400-million casino development planned for Hawthorne. That project is expected to open for business in late 2021 and is subject to regulatory approval. The Hawthorne site is the first of four proposed locations in the Chicago area planned.


What The Race Course Had To Say About The Deal

Hawthorne Race Course president and CEO Tim Carey says the future is bright. He points to 2021 as being “action-packed for Hawthorne as we prepare to redevelop the race track into a fully operational casino and premier gaming entertainment destination.” He went on to credit the opening of the new PointsBet Sportsbook as being a significant part of the plan. “We partnered with PointsBet because they have the best technology and are truly innovative.” The fact that PointsBet also focuses on customer service made the partnership even more attractive to Hawthorne because “(it) is critical to our long-term success particularly for the on-site experience.”


What PointsBet Had To Say About The Deal

PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken says his company has been successful by “offering a personalized mobile sports betting experience with unrivaled speed and ease of use.” He also credits the fact that PointsBet offers the most bet types across every game. He says the company is passionate about live sports and entertainment and “our desire (is) to always put the bettor first.” Plus, thanks to COVID-19 closing most sporting venues across the country, the sportsbook at Hawthorne provides sports fans with “a place to engage together and share that game day excitement in a safe and responsible manner.”


Hawthorne and PointsBet Endorsed By Two VIPs

The Mayor of the Village of Stickney, where Hawthorne Race Course is located, placed one of the first ceremonial wagers. He was joined by Illinois State Representative Bobby Rita. Rita was the chief architect of the bill that led to the legalization of sports betting in Illinois. There is no word on whether either of them won or lost their bets although it is quite obvious that the pair are beating the odds with the PointsBet sportsbook partnership with Hawthorne. Plus, PointsBet plans to add three Club Hawthorne off-track betting bars. They are proposed to be located in suburban Crestwood, Prospect Heights, and Oakbrook.


What To Expect At The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne


Well, the word “innovative” gets tossed around a lot when partners talk about sportsbook operators like PointsBet but what does that really mean? In this instance, there are a total of six self-service kiosks designed to accommodate “bet-and-go” activity in the lobby. There is also a modular “watch-and-wager” sportsbook which has been designed to permit social distancing (in other words, it is spacious). There are over 60 high-definition televisions on display so you can watch your favorite games, get the latest odds, and just enjoy the frenzied activity. There are 20 self-service kiosks, a VIP lounge with reserved seating, a three-person betting concierge counter, and a dedicated high stakes wager desk. If these features don’t spell innovation, it would be nice to know what constitutes a definition of the word.


PointsBet Joins Other Competitors In Illinois

PointsBet debuted its online sports betting app on September 12 in the Land of Lincoln. It is not the only player in the online pool. BetRivers, FanDuel, and DraftKings all currently have a mobile presence in the state. The Illinois Gaming Board indicates that there are currently 7 brick-and-mortar and 5 mobile online sportsbooks operating in the state with no indication when lawmakers will limit the numbers to prevent over-saturation of the market. Aside from that, Governor J B Pritzker has extended the period for state bettors to register online for their betting accounts into October. The remote option was provided in response to COVID-19 restrictions and a guideline that originally required bettors to register in-person at their chosen retail sportsbook. With only a handful operating in the state, travel concerns forced the remote option.


How Will This Partnership Benefit Hawthorne?

That’s a good question. Hawthorne Race Course is already a popular sports entertainment venue. By adding to the wagering offerings on-site with a sportsbook, Hawthorne stands to attract bigger crowds. Some of them will be there for the ponies and that will enhance the pari-mutuel wagering handles. But the safe bet is that most of the new visitors to the historic race track will be there because of the sportsbook. Remember, Hawthorne is only 10-miles away from downtown Chicago. Expect to see a lot of action at the PointsBet kiosks for Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, and Cubs games in the coming months. And with the renovation plans proposed at Hawthorne, chances are that the bettor will come first and design considerations will be to make everything better for the sportsbook customers. It truly is an example of a win/win situation.


In Conclusion

Opening a retail sportsbook only minutes from the downtown section of one of the most sports-crazy cities in the US is nothing short of brilliant. With the online sports betting friendly atmosphere in Illinois these days, it isn’t hard to see why a sportsbook operator has set up shop in one of the most historic sporting venues in the region. And the timing could not be better planned as Hawthorne is in the process of a huge expansion project which will create a casino facility where PointsBet can call home. PointsBet may be based in Australia, but they have a US division that is carefully and methodically expanding across the country. With online sports betting in Illinois now legalized, the Land of Lincoln is ripe for the picking. Sports fans get what they want and the operators of those venues get what they want which means everybody wins for a change.

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