Illinois Track Opens OTB Sportsbook

Hawthorne Race Course, one of two Illinois tracks OK’d for sportsbooks, opened a book at an off-track betting site in Crestwood. The sportsbook is one of three OTB venues to have sportsbooks in the near future.

Hawthorne Race Course made history January 27 when it opened the first non-casino, off-track betting sportsbook, operated by PointsBet.

Illinois has licensed Hawthorne and Fairmount Park as race track sportsbooks. Hawthorne is building a racino set to open next December. The OTB site in Crestwood is one of three where Hawthorne can accept sports wagers. The other two—yet to open—will be in prospect Heights and Oakwood Terrace.

Located in Stickney in suburban Chicago, Hawthorne Race Course opened a retail sportsbook in September, the closest one to downtown Chicago. Crestwood is 15 miles from the track, according to Sports Handle.

“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, in a joint statement with PointsBet.

A remodeled Club Hawthorne features a 163-inch video wall, and two dozen 75-inch TV screens throughout the viewing area, as well as leather couches, captain’s chairs and highboy tables. In addition, the site includes six self-serve kiosks and five betting clerk stations, all separated by Plexiglas. Capacity is limited to 25 percent and masks are required.