Ruling allows $400m redevelopment to begin
Hawthorne Race Course is preliminarily approved to host the Chicago-area’s first casino, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) ruled on Thursday. The IGB unanimously determined that the race track’s ownership and other key personnel are “suitable” for casino licensure. Official licensing will come at a later date.
Hawthorne stated in a press release that intended developments include slot machines, table games, a new racing feature that includes revamped wagering installations, and dining that showcases “well-known Chicago culinary experiences.” Hawthorne also said that the upgraded facility would include a “state-of-the-art sportsbook” to be rolled out in conjunction with partner PointsBet, Australia’s fastest-growing online sportsbook.
Construction slated for September
Outlining its plans for the casino to launch late 2021, Hawthorne said extensive construction and renovation work is expected to start on the fourth-generation, family-owned race course in September. “We’re going to substantially raise the bar on the Chicagoland casino experience,” said Kevin Kline, Hawthorne’s CEO of gaming.
we’re going to break the mold”
“As an independent operator, Hawthorne is like a 130-year-old start-up business. We’re going to break the mold on what a regional integrated casino, racing, and entertainment destination can be,” added Kline.
will become the largest city in the US to have a casino, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Another score for Illinois gambling
Hawthorne’s approval to host a casino at its location, known as Chicago’s hometown track, comes after the Illinois Senate and House approved several gambling expansion policies in June. The new bill also reworked the annual casino tax structure, lowering the projected tax revenues from Chicago casinos down to $500m from a previously unworkable $850m.
“It’s really hard to put into context what this means for the very hardworking people of the Illinois racing industry,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne.
“It means horsemen will be able to keep their businesses and families in Illinois. It means showcasing this historic sport to a new generation of fans,” said Carey.