Des Plaines Rivers Casino Opening Draws Thousands

A casino that opened for the first time yesterday was bombarded with so many visitors – that it had to close its doors.

By 11am its opening day, the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois quickly reached its gaming floor capacity of 3,600, prompting officials to ask would-be guests to consider delaying their visit.

The casino said more than $4.8 million was paid out from the slot machines as of 6 pm, and just one hour later at 7pm, counters at the casino’s turn-styles had tallied up more than 18,000 visitors coming and going.

“Today marks the culmination of years of planning and development. When you hear Rivers Casino, you’ll hear Des Plaines,” said Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan.

In addition to a jam packed casino, cars were backed up on the newly widened Des Plaines River Road between Touhy and Devon avenues, requiring police to unsnarl the traffic jam and warn residents to stay away from the new attraction.

The deal for the new casino – a 147,000 square-foot facility featuring a 44,000-square-foot gaming floor filled with more than 1,050 slot machines and 48 table games offering blackjack and craps to roulette and baccarat – included a $125 million upfront fee to be paid to the state and the city of Des Plaines was to redirect $10 million a year in local gaming taxes to the state for 30 years, according to the gaming board.

While many government officials see casinos as a way to generate money to plug gaping holes in their municipal budgets, individuals such as Anita Bedell, executive director of an addiction center in Springfield, feel they will instead be socially counter-productive.

“During these hard economic times the last thing people need is more opportunities for them to lose their money,” Bedell said.

The Des Plaines casino will be opened every day from 9am to 7am, giving those success-seeking individuals who were turned away on opening day plenty of time to get inside in the future.

via Chicago Tribune

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