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Illinois Horsemen Urge Antitrust Investigation Over Alleged Arlington Park-Rivers Casino Link

The following statement was issued by the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association 😛 TAGEND

The Illinois attorney general's office has been urged to investigate whether Churchill Downs Inc. dedicated nation or federal antitrust irreverences where reference is took a series of steps to preclude casino gaming and diminish pari-mutuel wagering at a site in proximity to its Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill.

Churchill spent two decades pursuing the authority to operate a casino at the Arlington Park racetrack in Arlington Heights, but, after purchasing the majority stake in Rivers, ploy to end gaming at the nearby track. Churchill abruptly abandoned its Arlington casino plan and, in moving to sell the property, claimed the site's future help would be “higher and better” than colt hastening- effectively dissolving the continued existence of meaningful pari-mutuel wagering act. All the while, Churchill administrations were careful in their public commentaries to avoid stipulating any motive on their percentage to suppress competition facing Rivers, their highly successful casino.

Also substantiated is that Churchill affirmed the goals and objectives of a 2019 Illinois law that authorized a casino permission for Arlington- special privileges that Churchill had sought before buying its stake in Rivers. Churchill's decision to forgo the option to open a casino at Arlington surprised Illinois elected officials who backed the 2019 ordinance; the Arlington casino was intended by state officials to generate brand-new tax revenue for the regime and local government, improved pari-mutuel wagering, enhance the racing program at the track, and start values of new racing-related jobs.

But unclear is whether Churchill's gradations rose to violations of state or federal antitrust constitutions. In a letter to the Illinois attorney general's office, Mike Campbell, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, described a blueprint of fraud by Churchill executives and argued that the publicly available evidence supports the launch of an antitrust investigation.

“Churchill directors obviously engaged in a campaign to block current and future gaming situations at Arlington while telegraphing meanings to avoid public attention from its actual message: shielding Rivers from a major gaming adversary in close proximity, ” Campbell wrote in the note, which also was forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department. A PDF of the symbol is available here.

Arlington is just a 12 -mile drive from Rivers; a reinvigorated colt scooting program at Arlington, particularly as part of a casino amusement composite, would become the closest major gaming adversary to Rivers. In February, Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes told ABC7/ WLS-TV in Chicago what others had privately concluded. “I think it's clear why they did not choose to open a casino at the racetrack belonging- because it would directly compete with their majority interest in the Rivers Casino, ” he said of Churchill.

Churchill plans to accept offers for the purchase of Arlington in mid-June. Amid widespread concern that Churchill might be angling to preclude a future owner of Arlington from engaging in forms of gaming, the Arlington Heights village timber in early May approved an guide intended to prohibit Churchill from situating certain restrictions- specific, those that would prevent future gaming- on the property.

Campbell noted in the letter to the Illinois attorney general's office that the ITHA brought to the attention of Illinois scooting regulators a reported offer in 2019 by groupings of prospective owners to purchase Arlington from Churchill with the intent of continuing hastening, and developing a casino, at that site. Churchill reportedly refused but never publicly indicated any such offer.

“It's unfortunate that Churchill Downs, once a supporter of thoroughbred scooting, sees now to care solely about corporate profit. But Illinois isn't Churchill's trough- our country doesn't exist to feed Churchill's greed, ” Campbell said. “A gaming license such as the one granted to Rivers Casino is a liberty. It means Churchill has a responsibility to follow the law, specially when the law target at serving the best interests of Illinois taxpayers.”

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