Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Illinois, has confirmed that they are not applying for a casino license in the state.
Earlier this year, GOV. J.B Pritzker signed a massive gambling expansion bill allowing for six different casinos in the state. New Casinos are to be developed in Waukegan, Chicago, Rockford, Danville, Williamson County, and Cook county.
The owner and operator of the Arlington racecourse, Churchill Downs, announced that they are not seeking a casino license in the state. The announcement sent shock waves in the state’s gambling industry as the gambling operator had been lobbying for casino gambling in the state for a long time.
Churchill CEO Bill Carstanjen explained: “Arlington would enter this market with an effective tax rate that would be approximately 17.5%-20% higher than the existing Chicagoland casinos due to contributions to the Thoroughbred purse account.
“This disadvantage in a hyper-competitive gaming market, coupled with substantial licensing and reconciliation fees and new, unviable horse racing requirements in the Illinois Gaming Act, makes the construction of a casino at Arlington financially untenable. It is with a heavy heart that we conclude that we can’t make this work.”
While a recent feasibility study from state-sponsored Union Gaming has confirmed that the proposed Chicago casino would not be profitable, it also says that the installation of slot machines at Chicago airports could drive in revenue.