Hawthorne Race Course to proceed with $400m casino development

The Illinois Gaming Board has given the green-light to Hawthorne Race Course’s casinos development ambitions, with the sporting venue approved to become the state’s next gaming property.

Founded in 1891 and lauded as “the longest running legal gambling business in the state” and “Illinois’ oldest sporting venue,” the move comes thirty years after the region passed legislation legalising ten casinos to operate throughout the jurisdiction.

In becoming a fully operational casino featuring slot machines, table games and sports betting, Hawthorne pledged that it’s $400 redevelopment will “transform Illinois horseracing and create the most dynamic entertainment experience for casino customers in the Chicagoland area”.

“It’s really hard to put into context what this means for the very hardworking people of the Illinois racing industry,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course.  

“It means horsemen will be able to keep their businesses and families in Illinois. It means showcasing this historic sport to a new generation of fans. It means creating a truly unique, first-of-its-kind entertainment experience that won’t exist anywhere else in Illinois.”

In addition to its aforementioned slot machines and table games inclusions, Hawthorne’s casino plans include a sportsbook to be developed in partnership with PointsBet, dining amenities showcasing well-known Chicago culinary experiences, a multi-level parking garage, and a new racing operation with upgraded wagering facilities. Major construction and renovation is expected to begin in September with plans for the casino to open in late 2021.

“I think a lot of people may have expected us to simply put some slot machines and tables into our existing facility, but we’re going to substantially raise the bar on the Chicagoland casino experience,” explained Kevin Kline, Hawthorne’s CEO of Gaming

 “As an independent operator, Hawthorne is like a 130 year old start-up business, and we are going to lead with innovation, excitement and a culture that celebrates our customers and empowers our team members every day.  

“We’re going to break the mold on what a regional integrated casino, racing, and entertainment destination can be.”