The Waukegan Casino race is down to two applicants after Midwest Gaming withdrew its application.
This was revealed by Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Frutcher on Thursday shortly before a random draw to determine the order of public presentations by the two remaining groups vying for the Waukegan license.
Las Vegas developer Full House Resorts and Lakeside Casino LLC, a group led by former Grayslake state Sen. Michael Bond are set to make their final presentations before the Board on October 3rd.
Sale of Arlington International Racecourse
Midwest Gaming’s withdrawal did not come without controversy. Hours earlier, Churchill Downs Inc. announced that it would sell Arlington International Racecourse to the Chicago Bears for $197.2M. Midwest Gaming is a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Rush Street Interactive.
But despite speculation, Rush Street spokesman Dennis Culloton said that it was a mere coincidence that they withdrew their application on the same day that the sale of Arlington was announced. Rush Street does not have an interest in the 326-acre parcel that could be the Bears’ destination but the company has a sponsorship deal with the team.
Going for the Chicago Mega-Casino?
The sudden turn of events led to speculation that the Rush Street consortium could be going all-in on a proposal for the recently approved Chicago mega-casino. Churchill Downs has been non-committal about a plan to apply for the Chicago casino which has gotten a lukewarm response from other national gaming developers due to high taxes.
It is also not clear in Churchill Downs or Rush Street Interactive or both as a partnership have applied for the 4,000 position Chicago casino but if they did, they would be considered instant favorites to get the license. RSI’s billionaire owner Neil Bluhm has close ties to Chicago Mayor Loi Lightfoot who earlier moved the deadline for submission of applications to October 29th.