New Illinois Racetrack Proposed

Illinois harness racing at Hawthorne Race Course

Plans have been made public for a proposed new Illinois racetrack.

According to Chicago media reports, Greenway Entertainment Group is pursuing a $300 million-plus racino on 80 acres of land adjacent to Interstate 57 in the south suburban village of Richton Park to help sustain the Illinois racing industry.

In order for the development to proceed, lawmakers would need to eliminate a veto power Hawthorne Race Course negotiated as part of a 2019 gambling expansion law allowing the Stickney racetrack to veto any competing racino within 35 miles. A bill introduced by Sen. Patrick J. Joyce in February would eliminate Hawthorne's veto power in June.

Hawthorne's plans for a $400 million first-class racino announced in 2020 have been delayed, with officials citing supply chain issues from the pandemic and high interest rates as they try to complete a financing deal for a 2024 opening.

Hawthorne Race Course, which currently hosts both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing, remains the only active racetrack in Illinois following the closures of Balmoral Park, Maywood Park and Arlington Park.

(With files from Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times)

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