Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a horse owner-breeder and racing enthusiast, has called on current Gov. J.B. Pritzker to use his influence to stop Arlington Park in Arlington Heights from being sold for development by its owner, the publicly traded Churchill Downs Inc.
Edgar’s comments, made to DailyHerald.com, came after the suburban newspaper’s editorial board similarly called for Prizker’s involvement in preventing the closure of Arlington Park. “If he showed true interest in saving Arlington Park, it would be saved,” the editorial said of Pritzker.
“Churchill Downs has shown a willingness to exert great force and influence to control the conduct of racing and gaming in Illinois,” the editorial stated. “An equal show of resolve now from the governor could be the right thing for the many communities and interests that have relied on Arlington Park for so long.”
In his comments to the paper, Edgar suggested that Pritzker has leverage in the awarding of additional casino licenses Churchill Downs is seeking in Waukegan and downtown Chicago.
“When you’re giving out (casino) licenses, you’ve got to think what’s in the best interest of the state,” Edgar said. “And if an entity has not really done what’s in the best interest of the state, I’m not sure why you’d continue to give them more licenses.”
Edgar told DailyHerald.com he got to know Pritzker when both served on the board of directors of the advance deposit wagering company Youbet.com in 2007. Pritzker’s investment company was reported to be Youbet’s largest shareholder. Churchill Downs acquired Youbet in 2009.
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