Published: September 30, 2021

Churchill Downs withdraws Waukegan casino bid hours after announcing Arlington Park sale

One of the state's most influential gambling companies withdrew its bid to win the right to open a new casino in Waukegan just hours after it announced it would sell Arlington International Racecourse to the Chicago Bears, officials said Thursday.

Churchill Downs Inc. confirmed the flashy $197.2 million agreement with the Bears Wednesday morning, a deal that -- if finalized -- ensures no rival casino developer breaks ground on the Northwest suburban oval that's only a short drive away from the company's premier Illinois cash cow: Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

By Wednesday afternoon, Churchill Downs notified Illinois gambling regulators it was withdrawing its Waukegan casino license application that was submitted nearly two years ago as a joint venture with billionaire Rivers chairman Neil Bluhm's Rush Street Gaming.

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