Hawthorne Race Course continues to show its commitment to reigniting horse betting in Illinois. On Thursday, Illinois Racing Board approved Hawthorne’s request to reopen Crazy Pour in Villa Park, a former Arlington OTB.
And, as of Jan. 21, Crazy Pour began welcoming horse bettors under the Club Hawthorne brand.
In September, the Illinois horse racing industry took a significant blow when Arlington International Racecourse closed its doors. Hawthorne in Cicero and FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville are the remaining two horse racetracks in the Land of Lincoln.
Hawthorne takes over Arlington OTBs
The Crazy Pour OTB, located at 105 E. North Ave., in Villa Park, is the fifth Arlington site reopened by Hawthorne. The other former Arlington OTB parlors reopened late last year are:
- The Piazza, Aurora
- Salerno’s Pizzeria and R Bar, McHenry
- Trackside at the Saddle Room, Hoffman Estates
- The Turf Room, North Aurora
Hawthorne Race Course can legally operate up to 16 OTBs, and Crazy Pour will be its 15th. However, the track is asking the state legislature for permission to operate more.
Hawthorne owner Churchill Downs Inc. wanted to take over Arlington’s OTBs at Arlington Trackside, but the racing board denied the attempt. The parlors partnered with Arlington Park, located in Arlington Heights, Chicago, Hodgkins and Rockford, were closed on Jan. 1.
Green Oaks OTB denied licensing
In a recent board meeting, Hawthorne was denied rights to reopen Post Time Sports Bar in Green Oaks, another Arlington OTB.
However, a spokesman said licensing requests were pulled due to a deficient application for land ownership.
It remains unclear if the arrest of Post Time owner Anthony Panico was a determining factor in the decision. In May 2021, Panico pleaded guilty to evading over $2.4 million in state and federal income taxes. His sentence for two years in prison began in October.
Another retail sportsbook in Illinois?
Hawthorne’s partnership with PointsBet Sportsbook means the possibility of a retail sportsbook opening in Villa Park. Under the Club Hawthorne brand, PointsBet in Illinois operates three retail locations in Cicero, Crestwood and Prospect Heights.
A fourth in Villa Park would be a welcomed convenience for new Illinois sports bettors looking to sign up for online betting. In-person registration has been in effect since April 2021. Those looking to bet on Illinois college sports must also visit a retail sports betting location.