PointsBet & Hawthorne Race Course Open Retail Sportsbook

PointsBet & Hawthorne Race Course Open Retail Sportsbook

PointsBet and Hawthorne Race Course on Wednesday opened the newest retail sportsbook in Illinois and the closest in-person sports betting operation to Chicago.

The sportsbook at Hawthorne is the first of four Chicagoland locations that the two companies will open as Illinois partners, according to a news release. The move is a precursor to the PointsBet Sportsbook that will be a part of Hawthorne’s $400 million casino development, which is scheduled to open in late 2021, pending final regulatory approval.

RELATED: More about Illinois sports betting and gaming

The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne is in Stickney, 10 miles from downtown Chicago. It is the first sportsbook to open on the southwest side of the city. It will also open retail operations “in the coming weeks” at OTBs In Prospect Heights, Oakbrook Terrace and Crestwood.

“The next year is going to be action-packed for Hawthorne as we prepare to redevelop the race track into a fully operational casino and premier gaming entertainment destination,” Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course, said in the release. “And that action starts now with the opening of our new PointsBet Sportsbook. We partnered with PointsBet because they have the best technology and are truly innovative, but also because they put customer service at the forefront, which is critical to our long-term success, particularly for the on-site experience.”

The Australian-based sports betting operator’s app went live on Sept. 12, joining BetRivers, DraftKings and FanDuel in the Illinois online sports betting market. Mobile registration is currently allowed in Illinois after Gov. JB Pritzker extended remote registration on Sept. 18, giving mobile sportsbooks the ability to sign up bettors anywhere in the state until Oct. 17.

PointsBet is the first of the top Illinois sportsbooks to go live partnering with a horse racetrack. There are now eight retail sportsbooks in Illinois.

New PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne

The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne will feature on-site entertainment, including a “bet-and-go” lobby that will include six self-service kiosks and a “watch-and-wager” sportsbook that will adhere to social distancing measures, the news release said. The sportsbook includes over 60 HDTVs, 20 self-service kiosks, a three-person betting concierge counter inclusive of a dedicated high denomination wager desk and a VIP lounge with reserved seating.

“PointsBet has been successful in making a name for itself by offering a personalized mobile sports betting experience with unrivaled speed and ease of use, as well as the most bet types across every game,” Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA, said in the news release. “While most stadiums across the country are currently closed to fans, our sportsbook is a place for sports lovers to engage together and share that game day excitement in a safe and responsible manner.”

Jeff Walik, mayor of the Village of Stickney, and Illinois State Rep. Bobby Rita, who was one of the main architects of the gaming expansion bill that led to legalized Illinois sports betting and permitted casino-style gaming at race tracks, were the first to place ceremonial wagers at the new PointsBet Sportsbook.

Thoroughbred racing returns to Hawthorne on Oct. 2 and will feature weekend racing for the rest of the year. The interim sportsbook and racing clubhouse will host wagering while the new Hawthorne Casino is in development.

The new casino will feature slots, table games and the PointsBet Sportsbook, in addition to bars, restaurants and a new grandstand and clubhouse for racing fans.

PointsBet partners with Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears on Sept. 25 announced a sports betting sponsorship with PointsBet. It was the second NFL team sponsorship for in as many days for PointsBet as it announced a similar deal with the Indianapolis Colts the day before.

PointsBet also announced a deal recently for former Bears star Devin Hester to be its ambassador in the state.

According to PointsBet, it is offering the best market price for Chicago Bears games this season across both the pregame spread and moneyline bet types.

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