Rush Street Interactive Eyes Canadian Market, Plus Neil Bluhm Wins Big In Chicago

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on March 11, 2022
Canadian Market And Political Win In Chicago Has Rush Streets Eyes

It was a big week for Illinois operator Rush Street Gaming (RSG) and Rush Street Interactive’s online division ($RSI). 

First, the iGaming operator announced preliminary approval to offer online casino games and sports betting in Ontario. Then, an influential civic group in Chicago endorsed one of RSG founder Neil Bluhm’s proposals to build a Chicago casino.

Rush Street eyeing Canadian market

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) gave RSI its iGaming Operator Registration, a significant step in helping the company enter the Canadian Market. 

In a statement, the company said it would be ready to launch in early April

“RSI plans to satisfy all remaining regulatory requirements and launch its award-winning BetRivers online casino and sportsbook in Ontario on April 4, 2022, the first day online gaming will be authorized in the province.”

Once the company launches in Canada, RSI will be available in three countries, including the US and Colombia. 

Including Illinois, RSI is currently available in 10 states operating under the BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse brands. 

  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

As of writing, shares of $RSI were trading at $8.10 per share.

Analysts anticipate the Canadian sports betting market to generate more than $25 billion in handle and revenue over $2 billion. Other operators entering Canada include Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, and Penn National Gaming.

Rivers Casino gaining support

The influential Chicago organization, Friends of the Park, submitted a letter detailing why Bluhm’s Rivers Casino McCormick was the best option. 

In December, Chicago received five casino proposals, two of which came from Rush Street founder Bluhm. 

Friends of the Park Executive Director Juanita Irizarry told the Chicago Sun-Times, Rivers Casino was the only operator to reach out to the organization. 

In the letter, Irizarry wrote:

“As we’ve consistently advocated for, the current proposal imagines greening in the parking area that returns more than five acres of asphalt parking lots to public parkland. We’re still pushing for more in the name of the vision for surface parking reduction that was articulated back in 1993 … as part of the deal that facilitated the Museum Campus and the McCormick Place expansion.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly said she plans to choose a winner in early 2022

Support from the civic group comes at a crucial time as local officials decide which proposal to select. The group holds political clout and could help push RSG to the top. 

In 2016, Friends of the Park blocked filmmaker George Lucas’s plan to build the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The group argued the museum was a public project on private land that would devalue the area. 

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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