Churchill Downs completes Rivers Casino agreement

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Churchill Downs Incorporated has announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of certain ownership interests in Midwest Gaming Holdings.

As a result of the $407m transaction, it secures CDI a controlling interest in Illinois’ Rivers Casino Des Plaines, via the acquisition of a 50.1 per cent stake of Midwest Gaming, the property’s owner.

Purchased with cash on hand and through the company’s existing credit facility, closing of the agreement follows the necessary approvals being issued by the Illinois Gaming Board of March 1, 2019.

Debuting in 2011, Rivers Des Plaines is located on the Des Plaines River in Des Plaines, Illinois, two miles from O’Hare International Airport and fifteen miles from downtown Chicago.

The property boasts a 44,000-square-foot single-level gaming floor with 983 slot machines and 58 table games, alongside seven dining and entertainment options and a multi-functional event centre.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Midwest Gaming and its corporate parent Rush Street Gaming, said in a statement to the Daily Herald when the transaction was first detailed: “We are thrilled to have Churchill Downs become our partner in Des Plaines, because they share our vision for the future of Rivers Casino and our commitment to our team members, community and guests.

“They have a tremendous record of success and innovation. With their representation on our board of managers, we’re confident Rivers will remain one of the most successful casino destinations in North America, and one of the best places to work in Illinois.”

This comes as Illinois governor J B Pritzker continues to talk up the potential impact sports betting could have on the state, with US-based media outlets stressing that it’s viewed as a potential helping hand to state budget issues.

Having to first see expanded wagering legalised after several failed attempts over a number of years, Pritzker’s proposed legislation would see a sports betting licence cost $10m, with a $5,000 renewal fee, and be taxed at a rate of 20 per cent of gross gaming revenue, grossing in the region of $384m and $680m per year.

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