February 24, 2021 Casino, Land-Based

Churchill Downs to sell Arlington International Racetrack

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Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced plans to sell Arlington International Racetrack, a 326-acre facility in Arlington Heights, Ill.

CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen indicated that the Arlington International location will be used for redevelopment.

CDI plans to maintain its Arlington racing license and relocate a track elsewhere in the Chicago region. CDI said it is committed to running a full 2021 race schedule, which runs from April 30 to Sept. 25.

Arlington International is one of the nation’s most historic racetracks. Founded in 1927, it holds a one-mile and one-eighth oval and a one-mile turf oval. The track seats 35,000 people at capacity.

CDI has owned the racetrack for 20 years.

“Arlington's ideal location in Chicago's northwest suburbs, together with direct access to downtown Chicago via an on-site Metra rail station, presents a unique redevelopment opportunity,” said Carstanjen. “We expect to see robust interest in the site and look forward to working with potential buyers, in collaboration with the village of Arlington Heights, to transition this storied location to its next phase.”

The announcement to sell Arlington International comes one day ahead of CDI’s fourth quarter 2020 earnings results. Revenues are expected to be down about 2% year-on-year according to Zacks Equity Research.

The Louisville-based company is majority owner of Rivers Casino Des Plaines, a northern suburb of Chicago. Last week CDI shared plans for a $87m expansion to the casino, which would add approximately 725 gaming positions to the state maximum of 2,000.

The expansion is waiting on regulatory approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. If approved, construction would begin this spring and conclude spring 2022.   

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