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Rivers Casino Crowds Already Too Big

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Rivers Casino

Crowds file into the new Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. (Credit: CBS)

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) — On only its first day of being open to the public, the Chicago area’s newest casino was proving to be a little bit too popular.

The Rivers Casino opened at River Road and Devon Avenue in Des Plaines on Monday, and shortly after Jim Belushi cut the ribbon at its grand opening, the casino was packed to capacity.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

The crowds caused traffic jams on the expressways.

Officials are now asking gamblers to hold off their visits just for a couple of days until the crowds subside.

Still, Des Plaines city officials are thrilled that they now have a casino in their town.

“When you hear Rivers Casino, you’ll hear Des Plaines, and when you hear Des Plaines, you’ll hear Rivers Casino!” Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylin said at the ribbon-cutting Monday.

And as WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports, the lead investor in the casino says there’s more to it than black ink for himself and investors.

Real estate magnate Neil Bluhm says his four latest casinos together mean 4,000 permanent jobs across the country, in a down economy.

“It’s a lot of jobs in this recession, and I feel good about it. I’m not Mother Teresa, but I also want to feel that whatever we’re doing is beneficial to society, as well as profitable to us and the other investors and bond holders,” he said. “But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have some benefits.”

The casino features 1,050 slots, 48 gaming tables and 1,000 full time jobs.

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