For a short while solely, Arlington Trackside reopens to gamblers

Although a part of the pending property sale to the Chicago Bears and closed as an off-track betting parlor, Arlington Trackside is internet hosting every day money poker desk video games by way of April 13.

Rockford Charitable Video games has arrange store contained in the outdated OTB and banquet facility operated by Arlington Park on the nook of Euclid and New Wilke roads in Arlington Heights, the place beginner poker gamers should purchase in at one in every of 18 obtainable tables between 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. every day.

The Rockford-based enterprise, which hosts some 300 state-licensed charity poker occasions a yr, secured house at Arlington Trackside from April 2 by way of April 13.

The betting parlor has been closed for horse racing wagers for the reason that starting of the yr, after the Illinois Racing Board rejected proprietor Churchill Downs Inc.’s request to maintain open its community of six remaining OTBs within the state. Ditka’s restaurant, which leased house there since 2014, closed on the finish of 2018.

However the two-story constructing on the southeast nook of the sprawling racetrack property remains to be open for banquets and particular occasions for as much as 200 individuals, in keeping with Arlington Park’s web site.

“The gamers are coming, and so they simply desire a clear, protected place with good lighting to play, and Trackside affords all of that,” mentioned Jim Kasputis, proprietor of Rockford Charitable Video games, which organizes the every day poker video games and splits earnings with charities which might be introduced for every occasion.


Underneath state regulation, every location is allowed to host a dozen poker nights a yr — and why Kasputis’ firm bounces round lodge convention rooms, banquet halls and nation golf equipment all through the Chicago suburbs and Rockford space. Every nonprofit group is restricted to 4 occasions a yr.

However there’s additionally laws pending in Springfield to extend these limits.

Since Saturday, the benefiting charity at Arlington Trackside has been the Rockford Cosmopolitan Membership, a social and repair group that raises funds for diabetes remedy and analysis. Wednesday’s charity is the Prospect Heights Lions Membership, adopted by the Kiwanis Membership of Palatine on Thursday and The Literacy Council of Rockford on Friday, Kasputis mentioned.

Probably the most a charity has made is $5,900, Kasputis mentioned, however the Rockford Cosmos say they common between $1,750 to $2,000 on most of their poker nights. Every group pays a $400 license price and a 5% state tax on gross winnings, along with the room rental, tools and safety charges.

The opening weekend at Arlington had massive crowds and full tables — as many as 200 gamblers on Sunday, Kasputis mentioned.

The Trackside bar is closed, however Kasputis offers pizza, delicate drinks and water for gamers.

“A variety of regulars come. A variety of senior residents,” he mentioned. “It is a terrific pastime. We name it a tax on the keen. The individuals which might be coming know {that a} share out of each pot goes to a internet hosting charity that day.”

The poker nights at Trackside come a couple of month after Arlington Park President Tony Petrillo informed the Arlington Heights village board that the ability continues to function because it did within the non-racing months, as he and the skeleton crew of staff who stay proceed to pursue expos, commerce exhibits, automotive firm ride-and-drive occasions, and different leasing alternatives.

The Bears and Churchill Downs introduced a $197.2 million deal for the 326-acre website simply days after the ultimate horse race final September. Bears officers confirmed final month that they’ve retained an architect and different consultants to assist put collectively preliminary redevelopment plans.

The sale is not anticipated to shut till the primary half of 2023.

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