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Illinois Racing Board grants Arlington race dates

September 24, 2019 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Racing Board has awarded a horse racing license to Arlington International Racecourse owner Churchill Downs Inc.

The board on Tuesday granted the license for 2020 and 68 racing dates to the 91-year-old track in Arlington Heights despite the decision of Churchill Downs not to pursue a newly authorized casino license.

Illinois horse racing interests have viewed casino gambling revenue as a financial lifeline for decimated horse racing purses.

When Louisville, Kentucky-based Churchill Downs announced last month that proposed taxes would make operating a casino would be untenable, it said it would consider moving the racing license elsewhere in Illinois. However, Churchill Downs general counsel Brad Blackwell told board members the company wasn’t threatening to shut down Arlington or move the track after 2021.

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Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney and Fairmount Park in Collinsville also received their race dates Tuesday. Both will operate slots and table games.