Casino Queen

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DraftKings at Casino Queen
Casino Queen hotel tower
DraftKings at Casino Queen is located in St. Louis
DraftKings at Casino Queen
DraftKings at Casino Queen
Location within Greater St. Louis
Location East St. Louis, Illinois
Opening dateJune 23, 1993 (1993-06-23)
No. of rooms157
Total gaming space38,000 sq ft (3,500 m2)
Casino typeRiverboat
OwnerGaming and Leisure Properties
Operating license holderThe Queen Casino & Entertainment
Previous namesCasino Queen
Renovated in2007, 2022
Coordinates38°37′33″N 90°10′34″W / 38.62583°N 90.17611°W / 38.62583; -90.17611
Public transit accessLight rail interchange  Red   Blue 
At East Riverfront

DraftKings at Casino Queen is a casino located near the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Illinois, just across the river from St. Louis. It is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by The Queen Casino & Entertainment, an affiliate of Standard General.

It is still nominally a riverboat casino, but moved onto land in 2007. The gaming floor floats on a basin filled with 340,000 gallons of water, but the rest of the property's amenities are built on dry land.


The Casino Queen in 2006 with the White Star One riverboat in the foreground and the hotel tower in the background

Illinois enacted a riverboat casino law in 1990 authorizing licenses for ten casinos to open around the state.[1] One of the licenses was guaranteed to East St. Louis, in an effort to help the financially troubled city.[2][3] The group that would ultimately open the Casino Queen, led by real estate developer Bill Koman, submitted its proposal to the Illinois Gaming Board in January 1992.[4] With no other proposals before the board, Koman's group was awarded the license in May 1992.[5]

The Casino Queen opened on June 23, 1993.[6] It was viewed positively by most city officials and residents, as the struggling city desperately needed both a revenue source and employment opportunities for its residents.[7] Casino Queen originally operated on a boat called the White Star One.

Construction of a hotel began in 1998.[8] The 157-room hotel, built at a cost of $15 million, opened in January 2000.[9]

Changed regulations led to the casino to be moved inland in 2007, but the gaming floor was required to float in a basin filled with 340,000 US gallons (1,300,000 L; 280,000 imp gal) of water. The move also allowed the casino to add 10,000 additional square feet of gaming space. In 2014, the White Star One was auctioned off and sold for $600,000.[10] Casino Queen has generated over $160 million for the city of East St. Louis between 1993 and 2009.[11]

In 2012, Koman and his partners sold the Casino Queen for $170 million to a newly formed Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which would steer the casino's profits into the retirement accounts of participating employees.[12] In 2014, to pay down debt taken on to finance the purchase, the ESOP sold the real estate of the Casino Queen to Gaming and Leisure Properties for $140 million, leasing it back for $14 million per year.[13][14]

In 2020, the casino struck a deal with sports betting provider DraftKings to rebrand the property as DraftKings at Casino Queen.[15] As part of the rebranding, the property will undergo a $10 million renovation that will replace the property's current restaurants and buffet with a full sportsbook, a new all-day restaurant, and a food court with three new quick-service options. The casino will also be integrated into DraftKings' mobile betting app, and also reached an agreement with Fairmount Park Racetrack in nearby Collinsville to operate slots and table games on their property, although sports betting competitor FanDuel has the track's sports-betting license.[16][17][15]

Property information[edit]

The casino includes both 1,100 slots and 34 table games in its 38,000 square feet of gaming space.[18] Per Illinois law and unlike neighboring Missouri casinos, it is not open 24 hours a day.[19]

Dining options include: the Bridgeway restaurant, the 3 Woks Noodle Bar restaurant, a That Chickn' Place chicken stand, QBar and Front Street Coffee.[20]

Both a 157-room hotel and a 133-space RV Park[21] are located on the Casino Queen property.

The East Riverfront station of the MetroLink light rail system is located directly next to the casino property.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert Kelly (February 8, 1990). "Dice to be rollin' on the river". St. Louis Post-Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  2. ^ Kathleen Best (September 11, 1990). "East side casino assured: E. St. Louis wins right to riverboat". St. Louis Post-Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  3. ^ Lynn Sweet (July 3, 1990). "10 vie for 5 riverboat gambling licenses". Chicago Sun-Times – via NewsBank.
  4. ^ "William Koman seeks license for casino boat in E. St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 3, 1992 – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ Patrick E. Gauen (May 15, 1992). "Illinois backs casino at E. St. Louis site". St. Louis Post-Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  6. ^ Margaret Gillerman (June 24, 1993). "Casino Queen, a city's dreamboat, sails at last". St. Louis Post-Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  7. ^ Brett Pulley (July 21, 1998). "Casino Changes the Fortune Of a Hard-Luck Illinois City". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  8. ^ "Mayor says hotel signals renewal of East St. Louis". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. November 18, 1998 – via NewsBank.
  9. ^ Denise Hollinshed (January 4, 2000). "New hotel at Casino Queen opens for business with views of St. Louis skyline". St. Louis Post-Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  10. ^ Robert Patrick (April 4, 2014). "Old Casino Queen yields $600,000 at auction". St Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "Gambling on the future of East St Louis". Lindenwood University. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  12. ^ Logan, Tim (December 28, 2012). "Employee-owners hope to reverse Casino Queen's fortunes". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Lisa Brown (December 10, 2013). "REIT buying Casino Queen real estate for $140 million". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. closes acquisition of the real estate assets related to the Casino Queen in East St. Louis for $140 million" (Press release). Gaming and Leisure Properties. January 23, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2020 – via GlobeNewswire.
  15. ^ a b "In deal with sports wagering firm, Casino Queen rebrands as DraftKings at Casino Queen". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  16. ^[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ "DraftKings at Casino Queen starts $10M expansion".
  18. ^ "Casino Queen". Clayco. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  19. ^ "IL Says Casino Queen Can't Stay Open 24 Hours". St Louis Public Radio. October 23, 2003. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "Dine". DraftKings at Casino Queen. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  21. ^ "RV Park | DraftKings at Casino Queen – East St. Louis, IL". DraftKings at Casino Queen. Retrieved May 25, 2023.

External links[edit]