A move that killed one of the world’s great racetracks in part to avoid gaming competition with the largest and most successful Illinois casino may have backfired on Churchill Downs, Inc.
When CDI sold much-loved and much-missed Arlington Park thoroughbred racetrack to the Chicago Bears, it was widely believed the sale was to avoid competition for the Rivers Casino Des Plaines CDI owns with BetRivers’ parent company Rush Street Gaming. In 2019, Illinois racetracks were granted the right to add racinos. Horse racing’s share of the revenue would go to purses and track improvements.
The state’s other two remaining horse racing tracks — Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing — jumped at the chance (though Hawthorne has yet to start construction on a gaming hall). Yet, inexplicably, CDI declined to add a racino at Arlington.