In Illinois, construction has started on a $10 million project at DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis that will see the remodel of the sportsbook and a new dining promenade.

The 30,000 square foot expansion will include an upgraded and enlarged state-of-the-art DraftKings at Casino Queen Sportsbook, which will be situated just steps from the gaming floor and feature the latest sports betting technology, along with lounge-style seating, oversized high definition TVs and more.

A full-service restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and its bar will lead into the promenade where a food court with three quick-service dining outlets will “expand and elevate” the facility’s food and beverage offerings. The project is expected to be completed in December 2021.

Leveling the playing field:

“Sports wagering has greatly elevated Illinois gaming and we are creating an environment at DraftKings at Casino Queen to capture that excitement,” said Terry Downey, President and Chief Executive Officer for Casino Queen (CQ) Holding Company, Inc.

Adding to the official June 1st press release (pdf), Downey, who is a University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) alum and independent director at Bally’s Corporation, said…

“Through our partnership with DraftKings, a cutting-edge sportsbook, and exceptional new dining experiences, we will soon offer a gaming destination that is unmatched in this region.”

Located along the Mississippi River, just minutes from Downtown St. Louis, the property features a 157-key hotel with fitness center, pool and spa, meeting and event space, and four food and drink options while the 38,000-square-foot casino currently offers 980 gaming machines and 29 table games.

2020 announcement:

In July 2020, DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) announced that it had partnered with what was then the Casino Queen and that the East St. Louis-based property would be rebranded as “DraftKings at Casino Queen.”

The announcement by the digital sports entertainment and gaming company followed a June 16th regulatory filing in which the Boston-based firm said it inked a “multiyear arrangement” with Casino Queen on Wednesday, June 10th. The deal allowed DraftKings to be part of a physical sportsbook as well as offer its online wagering app in the midwestern state where sports betting was legalized in 2019.

Incorporating the casino’s new sports betting partner into the branding was part of the state’s expanded gaming law requiring licensees to offer mobile sports wagering under the casino’s brand. FanDuel Group followed suit when in November 2020, the Flutter Entertainment subsidiary announced that it had signed a multi-million dollar deal that would see southwestern Illinois’ Fairmount Park Racetrack rebranded as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.

CQ Holding investments:

The expansion is one in a series of recent investments by the Illinois-based CQ Holding Company, Inc. after adding Casino Queen Marquette in Iowa to its stable in 2017 followed by agreements with GLPI (Gaming and Leisure Properties) and Caesars Entertainment that will see it acquire the operations of Hollywood Baton Rouge and the Belle of Baton Rouge. The two deals are expected to close mid-2021.