ITHA Response to Churchill CEO Carstanjen's Comments Regarding the Future of Arlington Park

Churchill Downs’ Contempt for Illinois Knows No Bounds

When Churchill Downs reneged on its longstanding commitment to develop a casino entertainment complex at Arlington Park, it deprived Arlington Heights and the state of hundreds of millions of dollars in recurring taxes and upfront license fees that would have resulted from that development. It also stripped families in the suburbs and across the state of the potential for jobs and economic opportunity that would have followed the expected growth in live racing.

The Illinois gaming expansion law was intended to boost overnight purses and otherwise invigorate thoroughbred horse racing in this state for the purpose of creating jobs, sparking economic opportunity and diversifying the tax base for the state and local communities. But that wasn’t good enough for Churchill Downs. Having purchased the majority stake in the nearby Rivers Casino, Churchill opted instead to abandon its Arlington racino plan and instead shield Rivers from the prospect of competition that might result from casino-style gaming at Arlington.

For Churchill’s CEO to say preposterously that Churchill has been “patient” with other stakeholders speaks to the height of Churchill’s contempt for the elected officials and working families of Illinois. The very least that Churchill could do is be honest about its true intention: the company cares only about maximizing profit and is happy to sacrifice the spirit of Illinois law and the livelihood of working Illinoisans to serve its greed.