DES PLAINES, Ill. — No one can perfectly predict the future. It is what keeps gamblers coming back to the table for “the thrill of the unknown.”
In business though, where the stakes are much higher, merchants and cities prefer more assurance of success. And unlike coin flips or blackjack hands, the history of one business often informs the future of another.
With that in mind, Time Warner Cable News traveled in June to Des Plaines, Illinois: the home of Rivers Casino-Des Plaines. The casino is a property of Rush Street Gaming, LLC — the same company now building a casino in Schenectady.
Des Plaines and Schenectady are similar, in some ways. Des Plaines is home to 58,000 people, while Schenectady’s population is around 66,000. Demographically, both cities are majority white; Schenectady’s second-largest group is African-American, while Des Plaines splits evenly between Eastern European and Asian descent.
There are differences, too. As a northern suburb of Chicago, Des Plaines is affluent: median income is $65,953 and the poverty rate just 7.8 percent. Comparably, Schenectady’s median income is just $38,916 with a poverty rate higher than 20 percent.
While many of Des Plaines’ residents commute to Chicago for work, the city supports its own growing workforce. 65% of the city’s population is of working age, between 18 and 64 years old. Historically, major industries have included warehousing for trucking companies, chemical manufacturing plants, healthcare at the local Presence Health hospital, and educational jobs at Oakton Community College.
Just five years ago, though, a new employer added 1,200 jobs to Des Plaines’ economy. In the half-decade since, Rivers Casino has ballooned to 1,500 employees.
Redick, Geoff. “All In: A Future with Rivers Casino.” TWC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.