Arlington Racecourse Says It May Move, Won’t Bid For Casino-Style Gaming

arlington racecourse
Horses compete in the Arlington Million race at Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The company that owns the racecourse said Wednesday it is considering moving its license to a different location. Paul Beaty / Associated Press
arlington racecourse
Horses compete in the Arlington Million race at Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The company that owns the racecourse said Wednesday it is considering moving its license to a different location. Paul Beaty / Associated Press

Arlington Racecourse Says It May Move, Won’t Bid For Casino-Style Gaming

Updated at 1:57 p.m.

The company that owns Arlington International Racecourse in northwest suburban Arlington Heights said Wednesday it’s considering moving to another location and has not applied for a slot machine and table game license.

The statement from Churchill Downs Inc. said it’s considering moving its racing license to another location in the Chicago region or to another part of Illinois. But the statement said horse racing will continue at Arlington for the next two seasons.

In the statement attributed to Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen, the company announced it did not apply to the Illinois Gaming Board for an additional license under the state’s new gaming law, which was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker in June.

Carstanjen said “the economic terms under which Arlington would be granted a casino gaming license do not provide an acceptable financial return and we cannot responsibly proceed.”

The company blamed high tax rates it would have to pay compared with existing casinos in the Chicago area.

“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 construction of a casino at Arlington financially untenable,” according to Carstanjen’s statement.

Churchill Downs, based in Louisville, Kentucky, owns the Rivers Casino Des Plaines and has applied for up to 800 new gaming positions at the facility.