Illinois

With '25 the New Target for Racinos, Optimism Accompanies '24 Illinois Race Dates

Illinois racing is still struggling to recover from the twin blows of the 2021 closure of Arlington International Racecourse and the inability of the state's two surviving Thoroughbred venues--Hawthorne Race Course and FanDuel Sportsbook & Horse Racing--to follow through with building their proposed racinos that were legalized back in 2019. Yet Thursday's Illinois Racing Board (IRB) meeting was conducted with a noticeably welcome tone of cautious optimism, as commissioners unanimously approved 2024 race dates against the backdrop of revamped racino construction schedules at both venues that could mean gaming revenue...

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Demolition Of Arlington Grandstand Begins

Once considered among the most beautiful facilities in racing, Arlington Park met the wrecking ball Friday. The work on the exterior portion of the track started after the Arlington Heights Building and Safety Department approved a request from the Chicago Bears for a building permit that allowed the demolition of the grandstand and other structures on the property. In February, the Bears completed its purchase of the 326-acre property from Churchill Downs, Inc. for $197.2 million. The Bears have yet to fully commit to building a new stadium on the...

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Hawthorne Cuts Back to Two Days Weekly

Citing an inability to support three days of racing per week, Hawthorne Race Course asked for and received permission from the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) to drop the remaining five Sundays from its current Thoroughbred meet that runs through June 25. This is the first season in recent Illinois history with the scheduled-to-be-sold Arlington International Racecourse not running a summer meet, which has led to a thinned horse population this spring at Hawthorne. The Hawthorne season started Apr. 2 with just Saturday and Sunday racing. Fridays were added May 6,...

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IL HBPA Withholds Consent for TwinSpires to be in State

Edited Press Release The organization representing owners and trainers at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing (formerly known as Fairmount Park) is withholding consent for the TwinSpires betting platform to accept wagers from Illinois residents. The board of the Illinois Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association cites the closure of suburban Chicago's industry icon Arlington Park by Churchill Downs Inc., TwinSpires' parent corporation, as a prime motivation for withholding consent. With CDI not owning a functioning racetrack in Illinois in 2022, TwinSpires must under state law have a contract with another duly...

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CDI Doesn't File for '22 Dates for Arlington

The July 30 deadline for applying for Illinois 2022 race dates came and went with no surprise move that might have buoyed the near-future fate of Arlington International Racecourse. If anything, suburban Chicago's landmark Thoroughbred track inched closer to permanent closure Friday, because Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns the up-for-sale landmark, failed to file even a placeholder application to race next year that could have been transferred to a buyer willing to keep the sport afloat. Nor did CDI ask the Illinois Racing Board for race...

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Hawthorne Opens Sportsbook with PointsBet

Hawthorne Race Course and PointsBet have been approved by the Illinois Gaming Board to open the state's first off-track and non-casino sportsbook beginning Jan. 27. The newly remodeled Club Hawthorne in suburban Crestwood is part of Hawthorne's off-tracking betting (OTB) network, and is the first of three such OTB locations that will open under Illinois' sports betting law. "Hawthorne is the only gaming company in the Chicagoland area that is able to open sportsbooks at off-track and non-casino locations, so this is an opportunity on which we focused a lot...

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Illinois Grants 2021 Dates Amid Distrust for Arlington's Corporate Ownership

Citing distrust in Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), the gaming corporation that owns Arlington International Racecourse, the leadership of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) on Sept. 16 asked the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) to impose a condition on 2021 race dates that would withhold millions of dollars in purse fund "recapture" money from the track if it did not end up racing its applied-for 68 days next year. The IRB, which was meeting with three newly appointed commissioners for the first time on Wednesday, probed Arlington president Tony Petrillo about...

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After Blown Purse Contract Deadline, Horsemen Claim Arlington Officials Won't Meet

Barely 18 hours after a state-mandated Dec. 31 deadline elapsed for having a purse contract in place, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) lashed out at Arlington International Racecourse and its publicly traded ownership, Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), claiming that the gaming company "deceived Illinois" and is now "threatening the future of live racing at Arlington by refusing to commit" to funding adequate purses for the 2020 meet. The ITHA's allegations were listed in a point-by-point press release sent to news organizations late on New Year's Day, and the top...

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Hawthorne Won't Race 2020 Spring Meet to Allow for Racino Construction

Hawthorne Race Course will not run a spring Thoroughbred meet in 2020 because the afternoon races will conflict with the large-scale reconstruction of the track's grandstand and clubhouse that will transform the plant into a racino. Earlier this summer, Illinois legalized slot machines, table games and sports betting at the state's commercial pari-mutuel tracks. The Blood-Horse first broke the story on Thursday, but TDN obtained additional details about the project from both Hawthorne and Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) officials. "The beginning of the construction is going to be in...

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