Rivers Casino owner to bid on new casino license and expand in Des Plaines

Churchill Downs could spend combined $34M on new licenses and betting rights

Miccosukee casino
Churchill CEO William Carstanjen (Creidt: Getty Images and iStock)

The majority owner of Rivers Casino plans to bid on one of six new state-approved casino licenses and will expand its Des Plaines facility.

Churchill Downs said in an earnings call that it will spend $10 million early next year for the rights to allow betting on sporting events at Arlington International Racecourse and another $24 million to license 800 additional positions, according to Crain’s. The new law allows for up to 1,200 positions.

That will require Churchill’s Rivers Casino to expand the building’s footprint and parking garage, Churchill CEO William Carstanjen said. He did not answer an analyst’s question directly on whether Churchill will bid for one of the new casino licenses independently, with Rivers or another partner, Crain’s reported.

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Earlier this year. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a sweeping state gambling bill into law, later prompting city leaders to suggest locations for a new Chicago casino away from Downtown.

Carstanjen did say on the earnings call that Churchill would apply to add gambling beyond horse-wagering at Arlington by the end of August.

Churchill, which owns 61 percent of Rivers Casino, has become a gambling giant in addition to operating racing venues and sponsoring the Kentucky Derby. [Crain’s]Katherine Kallergis