Hawthorne Race Course, in partnership with sportsbook operator PointsBet, has opened Illinois‘ newest retail sportsbook and the closest in-person sports betting destination to downtown Chicago.  

PointsBet debuted its mobile app and digital sports betting product in Illinois at the start of the NFL season. The Hawthorne facility is the first of four Chicagoland locations that the two companies will open as Illinois partners. It is a precursor to the premium PointsBet Sportsbook that will be a part of Hawthorne’s historic $400m casino development, scheduled to open in late 2021 pending final regulatory approval.

“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,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course.  

“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 PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne was designed for the new realities of on-site entertainment, featuring a “bet-and-go” lobby with six self-service kiosks as well as a modular “watch-and-wager” sportsbook with ample space for social distancing.  

The sportsbook has over 60 HD TVs, 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.

Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA, commented: “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. 

“At the heart of that effort is our passion for live sports and entertainment, and our desire to always put the bettor first. 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. We, together with our partner Hawthorne Race Course, are thrilled to provide the Illinois consumer with exactly what they’ve been craving.”

Jeff Walik, Mayor of the Village of Stickney, wherein Hawthorne is located; and Illinois State Representative Bobby Rita, who was the chief architect of the gaming expansion bill that legalized Illinois sports betting, placed the ceremonial first wagers.  

Thoroughbred racing returns to Hawthorne this week on October 2, with weekend racing through the end of the year. The interim sportsbook and racing clubhouse will host wagering while the new Hawthorne Casino is in development, which will feature slots, table games and a state-of-the-art PointsBet Sportsbook, in addition to restaurants, bars and an entirely new grandstand and clubhouse for racing fans.  

Three more PointsBet Sportsbooks will open at Club Hawthorne off-track betting bars in coming weeks in suburban Crestwood, Oakbrook and Prospect Heights.