Illinois Horsemen Call For Antitrust Investigation Into Churchill Downs

Written By Joe Boozell on June 2, 2021
arlington churchill investigation

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen & rsquo, s Association ( ITHA ) requests that Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul investigate any potential violations of Churchill Downs Inc. ‘ s antitrust laws.

This is a result of Churchill & rsquo’s choice to skip the Arlington International Racecourse in favor of pursuing an & ldquo, or racino + rndquo.

A few years ago, Churchill Downs bought a 61 % stake in the nearby Rivers Casino. It has since changed its mind about allowing board games and games at the track in Arlington. Prior to the Rivers’ order, Churchill had advocated for blackjack gambling for 20 years, but in 2019 he started to oppose them.

In a letter to Raoul & rsquo’s office, ITHA president Mike Campbell( pictured above ) requested that he look into whether Churchill had broken any state or federal antitrust laws.

Via the Daily Herald, Campbell wrote:

Churchill executives were reportedly working on a strategy to prevent current and potential gaming scenarios at Arlington while telegraphing messages to divert attention from their true goal of protecting Rivers from an imminent key gaming rival. We respectfully submit that whether Churchill & rsquo’s actions reached the level of illegal anticompetitive behavior is worthy of your review. & rdquo,

Less than 20 minutes separate Arlington Park from Rivers Casino.

Churchill Downs responded by saying the following:

The Illinois Gaming Act was examined by & ldquo, Churchill Downs Incorporated, and it was determined that Arlington International Racecourse could not afford to pursue a gaming license. CDI has hired a real estate brokerage to promote the home, as was previously announced this year, and anticipates receiving proposals by the end of the following month. We have no intention of abandoning this plan and are not deterred by ITHA & rsquo’s unfounded accusations. & rdquo,

Churchill Downs officially put Arlington Park up for sale earlier this year.

Our state doesn’t exist to feed Churchill & rsquo, s greed, andrdquo; it’s a trough & mdash, according to Campbell. Andlquo is an Illinois isnandrisquo. A gaming license, like the one given to Rivers Casino, is a privilege, according to & ldquo. & rdquo,

Churchill Downs and Arlington Heights are even fighting.

In May, the city of Arlington Heightstook measures to keep horse racing and gaming alive at the park.

An ordinance prohibiting Churchill Downs from putting a restrictive covenant tied to horse racing and gambling on the land was approved by the city & rsquo, s village board.

Churchill is still in charge of the sale’s outcome. However, city officials are working to stop future uses like systematic offices, funeral parlors, adult businesses, and car washes.

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayeslaid out his vision for the land last month to the Daily Herald:

& ldquo, As a responsible village with 326 acres of prime real estate up for sale within our borders, it is our responsibility to take all necessary steps and precautions to ensure that the development is of the highest caliber. We & rsquo is attempting to entice very serious investors who want to transform this exceptional piece of real estate into something appropriate for our neighborhood and the area. & rdquo,

There aren’t many other horse race locations outside of Arlington Park in Illinois.

The other two tracks are FanDuel Sportsbook & amp, Horse Racing in Collinsville, and Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney. Southern Illinois is where Collinsville is situated.

The Chicago Bears might relocate to Arlington Park.

Illinoisans have likely heard plenty of Arlington Park-Bears buzz over the past few months.

The Bears would be in a position to host an event like the Super Bowl in an Arlington Park arena. As much as they are at Soldier Field, they won’t be in the mix.

A suitable Arlington Heights coach stop is located just a few steps from the park. That might lessen the impact of leaving Chicago’s city.

Soldier Field and the Bears have a license agreement going through 2033. However, when ample cash and resolve are involved, such rentals are simple to break.

Additionally, Mayor Hayes stated that he would warmly welcomed the Bears to Arlington Heights. An NFL franchise would undoubtedly be a financial gift for any metropolis.

M. Spencer Green’s pictures, AP
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Boozell, Joe

Boozell, Joe has also been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, and Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene … you can imagine how that went.

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