Hawthorne Race Course given go ahead to proceed with casino launch in Illinois

By Iqbal Johal

Hawthorne Race Course has been given preliminarily approval by the Illinois Gaming Board to proceed with its casino development plans.

The gaming board voted unanimously in favour of the racetrack’s ownership and key personnel being deemed “suitable” for a casino license.

Hawthorne, the longest running legal gambling business in Illinois after being founded in 1891, plans to expand its offering by adding slot machines, table games, and sports betting, to its existing horse racing product.

The venue’s casino plans also include a state-of-the-art sportsbook, which will be developed in partnership with PointsBet. Other highlights include dining amenities, and a new racing operation with upgraded betting facilities.

The $400m construction and renovation is expected to begin this September at the racetrack, which is based on the outskirts of Chicago, with the casino planning to open in late 2021.

Hawthorne’s gaming CEO Kevin Kline, said: “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.

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

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