Churchill Downs is closer yet to owning a majority holding in Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Illinois in a move that would see it well positioned to capitalize on moves by the state to make sports wagering a legal pastime. But the deal, which is anticipated to be sealed before the end of the week, remains subject to the firm passing muster with the Illinois Gaming Board.

Should Churchill Downs’ plan bear scrutiny by the board, it will realize its previously stated ambitions to hold a 50.1 per cent chunk of Rivers Casino in a deal worth circa $326m, as well as increase its presence in Illinois where it already owns Chicago’s Arlington International racetrack.

According to the Chicago Daily Herald, the purchase remains subject to the Illinois Gaming Board’s routine approval processes which involves due diligence on a number of factors including finances, criminal background checks and ensuring the firm meets state requirements.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Midwest Gaming and parent Rush Street Gaming, told the Daily Herald: “We are thrilled to have Churchill Downs become our partner in Des Plaines, because they share our vision for the future of Rivers Casino and our commitment to our team members, community and guests.

“They have a tremendous record of success and innovation. With their representation on our board of managers, we’re confident Rivers will remain one of the most successful casino destinations in North America and one of the best places to work in Illinois.”