US – Hawthorne Race Course approved to open Illinois’ first off-track sportsbookBy Phil - 26 January 2021
As COVID mitigation guidelines continue to ease, allowing for casinos to resume operations, Hawthorne Race Course and PointsBet have been approved by the Illinois Gaming Board to open the State’s first off-track and non-casino sportsbook beginning on Wednesday, January 27.
The newly remodeled Club Hawthorne in suburban Crestwood is part of Hawthorne’s off-tracking betting (OTB) network, and is the first of three such OTB locations that will open under Illinois’ sports betting law. The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course previously opened in September — the first race track sportsbook in Illinois, and the closest sportsbook to downtown Chicago.
“Hawthorne is the only gaming company in the Chicagoland area that is able to open sportsbooks at off-track and non-casino locations, so this is an opportunity on which we focused a lot of energy and investment,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course. “We completely remodeled the space to create the best sports viewing and sports betting destination in the State.”
The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne in Crestwood features a 163” Hero LED Video Wall and twenty-four 75” TVs bookending the viewing area, and a fully integrated, state-of-the-art sound system to create an arena-like experience. There are six self-service kiosks and five betting clerk stations, which are socially distanced and separated by plexiglass barriers. The venue features curbside parking and space for up to 500 people (when at full capacity post-COVID) with leather captain’s chairs, small group couches and highboy tables.
“As sports fans we all love the game, love the action, but we also love experiencing it with other fans,” said Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. “The unique opportunity to open a new-style of standalone sportsbooks with Hawthorne required us to develop something that would match the best-in-class customer experience that PointsBet provides on our mobile platform. This isn’t just the best sportsbook in Chicago, it’s the best sports bar too.”
The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne will also feature exclusive retail-only betting promotions and sweepstakes. Current health safety protocols provide for limited seating capacity which will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis; however bet-and-go services for cash wagering are available.