The Illinois Racing Board voted unanimously today to award 68 racing dates next year to Arlington International Racecourse, erasing concerns that last week’s races may have been the last in the storied track’s history.
The 9-0 vote comes a week after board members lambasted track owner Churchill Downs over its decision not to seek a casino license that had long been hailed as a lifeline for the struggling racing industry.
Board members implied that racing dates for 2020 could be withheld if the company didn’t clarify their long-term plans for Arlington.
Louisville, Kentucky-based Churchill Downs last month surprised many by announcing it wouldn’t seek a state license for casino table games and slots at the racetrack. Company officials said the suburban gambling market is now saturated and the gambling expansion legislation approved by state lawmakers contains an unfavorable tax structure.
The company also now has a majority stake in Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and is bidding for a new casino in Waukegan.
It also hasn’t committed to racing at Arlington beyond 2021.