Churchill Downs withdraws bid from race for Waukegan Casino license

Churchill Downs withdraws bid from race for Waukegan Casino license

Just a few hours after the announcement of sale of Arlington International Racecourse to the Chicago Bears, Churchill Downs withdrew its bid from the race for Waukegan Casino license. The Chicago Bears NFL team has agreed to acquire the Arlington racecourse property for around $197 million. After confirming that the racecourse in question will go to the Chicago Bears, Churchill Downs announced its decision of withdrawing its bid from the race to operate a casino in Waukegan.

Earlier this week, Churchill Downs informed the Illinois’ gambling watchdog that the company had decided to remove its application for casino licensing in Waukegan. The application was submitted around a couple of years ago in partnership with Rush Street Gaming, when the state governor gave his final approval for expansion of gambling to add half a dozen new casinos to the state’s gaming industry.
Rumors swirling over the Internet claim that Churchill Downs is now trying to operate a gaming venue in Chicago. However, the company has yet to confirm any such move.

Dennis Culloton, a spokesperson for Rush Street Gaming, said that it was just a coincidence that the company withdrew its application for casino licensing in Waukegan on the day of the announcement of the sale of the Arlington property to the Chicago Bears.

The deal will reportedly ensure that a rival casino developer won’t be able to offer services near its Rivers Casino facility in Des Plaines area of Illinois. It is being seen as a smart move by Churchill Downs to sell the property to the Chicago Bears. It is this decision of the company that circulating rumors are claiming that it has an eye on the Chicago area for a gaming property.

Applications for Waukegan Casino license were due at the end of August, but the mayor recently pushed back the deadline to 29th of October. For now, it will be interesting to see if Churchill Downs or Rush Street Gaming or both really throw a hat in the ring for potential gaming licensing in Chicago.

Chicago hopes for an investment of $1 billion from the license winner. Along with a casino, the license holder will be expected to construct a 500-guest room and 5-Star hotel. The proposed gaming complex is being seen as a way to provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.