DraftKings at Casino Queen has officially opened its new 6,000-square-foot sports betting lounge on Tuesday, thus marking the first piece of its $9 million renovation to open for business. The ceremony was attended by East St. Louis mayor Robert Eastern III, and fans who gathered to live the experience first-hand.
The new betting area, which is located across from the casino floor, has a 60-foot video wall, more than 28 LED TVs, real time live odds boards, 5 betting windows, 38 computer betting terminals, lounge seating and a full-service bar.
A sit-down restaurant and food court, which is part of the renovation plan, are still under construction.
Casino Queen announced its partnership with DraftKings in 2020, a year after sports betting became legal in Illinois. The property rebranded as DraftKings at Casino Queen, and the alliance spurred the renovation of the casino.
Mac VanDerWeele, General Manager of the Casino Queen, stated: “The atmosphere through the March Madness tournament so far, the highs and lows, to be able to bet on sports and come in and watch games, just a new experience”, KSDK reported.
DraftKings has a business agreement with Casino Queen, which also operates Hollywood Baton Rouge in Louisiana under a master lease with landlord Gaming and Leisure Properties. Last Wednesday, DraftKings opened a temporary sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge and plans to open a permanent location in 2023, after the riverboat’s landside expansion is completed.
Even though the state had legalized sports betting in 2019, it required companies to have physical betting locations before they could offer online wagering. Earlier this month, just in time for March Madness, Illinois permanently eliminated the in-person registration requirement for statewide sports betting, in a move that could boost Illinois to a record $1 billion in legal sports bets on the first month.