Owner won’t add casino gambling at Arlington Racecourse

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — The owner of Arlington International Racecourse in northern Illinois has announced the company will not seek a license to add casino gambling at the track.

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen on Wednesday said state law requiring the track to dedicate a portion of casino earnings to racing purses makes placing casino games at the suburban Chicago track untenable.

Carstanjen noted Arlington would enter the gambling market with a tax rate that would be approximately 17.5% to 20% higher than the existing Chicago-area casinos due to contributions to the thoroughbred purse account. Churchill Downs also owns a majority interest in Rivers Casino in nearby Des Plaines.

Carstanjen also says horse racing at Arlington is guaranteed until 2021, after which the company may move to track to another location in Illinois.

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association says the decision on casinos by Churchill Downs means the company is snubbing the men and women of thoroughbred horse racing.