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Sports betting preps at Par-A-Dice

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As 2020 gets underway, the owners of Par-A-Dice Casino and Hotel are looking towards the new year with a long to do list. The biggest item, deciding the future of sports betting at their facility.

In June Governor Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 690 legalizing sports betting. With declining revenues over the past decade, Par-A-Dice is hoping this can be a victory for their Casino.

Docked in East Peoria for nearly 30 years, Par-A-Dice Casino and Hotel's Corporate Owners, Boyd Gaming, said they have big plans for 2020.

"We'll be looking at upgrading our steak house this year as well as upgrading our deli. We'll be upgrading all of our 200 hotel rooms here at the Par-A-Dice also." said CEO of Boyd Gaming Keith Smith, This comes after the opening of the Tin Lizard which they said has been a huge success.

"They're not just a good employer they're a great community partner. I mean they've done a great job since their inception here in East Peoria of reinvesting in the community." said East Peoria Mayor John Kahl

The city and Boyd Gaming are hoping the legalization of sports betting can add to the pot.

Boyd Gaming is no stranger to sports betting. Outside Nevada, sports books are available at Boyd Casinos in Indiana and Pennsylvania, but they are unsure how it would look here in Illinois.

"Physically what it would look like here or on land, once again it's what we're investigating now. Where does it go? Is it a full scale lounge? Does it look like a Las Vegas sports book or is it a little smaller? Is it more scaled back?" said Smith

Where sports betting is most popular now is on your phone. So how will that work here? In other states, Boyd Gaming partners with the company 'Fan Duel', but Illinois has delayed Fan Duel from operating here for 18 months. But the CEO said they have run many sports books without the likes of Fan Duel, and hope to have it going by next football season.

They have not applied for a license with the state yet, only gotten the 40 page application, but their other locations have seen success.

"A lot of new faces, a lot of younger customers, people who were not participating with us before." said Smith

And though yearly revenue is down over $43 Million since 2009 Smith said, "Revenues are not the same as they were a decade ago, but when you have growing competition and flattening demand, you know those two meet and the results that you see are what happens."

But the city is confident this new attraction will bring Central Illinoisans to their door.

"It's big news and it's a big deal and I think you know it won't just be a positive for Boyd Gaming, it's going to be a positive for this entire region." said Kahl

Kaitlin Pearson

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