Churchill Downs Not High On Its Future At Arlington International Racecourse

Written By Derek Helling on August 7, 2020Last Updated on May 17, 2022

The writing about the Arlington track sale that has been on the walls for months ultimately has a voice behind it. It & rsquo is now more certain than ever that Arlington Heights won’t be the location of ChurchillDowns’ operation if it’s to operate a & ldquo, racino, in Illinois.

That speech is Churchill Downs CEO BillCarstanjen. But, it is still unknown exactly what will happen to Arlington International Racecourse andlsquo.

What Carstanjen said regarding a potential purchase of Arlington racetracks

On a recent company earnings call, Carstanjen confirmed what many had suspected. Churchill Downs doesn’t have grand designs for its future at the racecourse. Carstanjen said:

That land will eventually serve a higher and better purpose for something else, according to & ldquo. However, we want to work effectively with all of the market’s constituents to see if there is a chance to change the license or, alternatively, the situation so that racing can continue in Illinois. We & rsquo has been patient, considerate, and helpful with the parties involved in that jurisdiction, but in the long run, that land will be sold and that license will need to be transferred if it’s going to last. & rdquo,

It appears that it will only be a matter of time before Churchill Downs gallops off the home. Last September, measures indicating that would be the case surfaced.

It was then that Churchill Downs announced it would not seek a license for casino gaming at Arlington. That was a stunning reversal, especially after Churchill Downs’ decades of lobbying for that exact privilege.

Carstanjen cited the tax rate for table games, slots, and casino at the time. He expressed skepticism about a racino’s ability to make enough money to pay for bills, significantly less make money.

Churchill Downs is reportedly looking elsewhere, according to the more recent Carstanjen offer. While there & rsquo is a clear alternative, it’s not entirely up to Churchill Downs.

Institutions of the condition and cities have not yet weighed in.

Waukegan, another IL area, is what Churchill Downs has its eyes upon. It was one of three casino gaming license applications that the city forwarded to the Illinois Gaming Board ( IGB ) for review.

However, there is only one license that the board you review. There is no assurance that Churchill Downs will be chosen by the IGB & rsquo. There is also no clear timeline for that decision, there & rsquo.

North Point Casino and Full House Resorts are the other two candidates.

NeilBluhm, the CEO of Rush Street Gaming, is a party to Churchill Downs & rsquo’s bid and owns RiversCasino in Des Plaines.

The next issue is whether the horse racing businesses would relocate to Waukegan. That & rsquo is not a problem because Churchill Downs is authorized to move with the state.

What may be an issue, however, is Waukegan itself. Mayor SamCunningham says his office hasn’t had any discussions about horse racing in his city. Cunningham said:

In any financial situation, it would be foolish not to consider any request from a reliable developer. Yet a racino? Our best focus right now is getting our citizens through these difficult times so they can, hopefully, anticipate a better future. A new game will open sometime in the soon coming season. & rdquo,

It & rsquo is unsure if Churchill Downs would sell the Arlington property before obtaining all of its ducks in a row for Waukegan. What it might do best now if the IGB issues the certificate to a rival is also up for debate.

What happens if Waukegan doesn’t operate out?

In January, two parties reportedly showedinterest in the Arlington racecourse. The reports went on to state that Churchill Downs rebuffed those inquiries, however.

The cause of that neutrality ought to be clear. It & rsquo, without the right infrastructure, it is impossible to offer horse racing. This could have an impact on Churchill Downsquo’s ability to transfer its driving license to Waukegan.

Churchill Downs has only so far applied for a game registration in Waukegan. Despite the fact that the most recent round of betting expansion allowed for the opening of six innovative casinos in various regions of Illinois, it is still too soon to record the necessary paperwork.

Waukegan appears to be the source of all the funds in Churchill Downs andrsquo. The company might be put in a situation that it obviously doesn’t want to be in because that & ldquo, horse & ndquo does not run.

Helling, Derek Avatar
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Helling, Derek

Helling, Derek is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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