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News & Insights

Honored to Host Minority, Women-Owned Business Expo in Chicago


$180 Million Phase 1 Construction Project Scheduled to Begin in January 2020

In preparation for the development of a casino at Hawthorne Race Course as part of Illinois’ recent gaming expansion, W.E. O’Neil Construction Company is hosting a vendor fair on Thursday, October 10th at the race track for minority and women-owned businesses in the construction trades.  W.E. O’Neil has been hired by Hawthorne to lead the $180 million construction project following licensure by the Illinois Gaming Board.

“The opportunity to open a casino comes with considerable responsibilities and obligations, one of which is to stimulate economic growth for the State,” said Tim Carey, CEO/President of Hawthorne Casino & Race Course.  “Hawthorne is a 110-year-old family business and so we have a special kinship for entrepreneurs, and know how important it is for minority and female-owned businesses to have a chance to participate in this opportunity.”

Hawthorne and W.E. O’Neil have committed to a goal of 25% of the construction project to be contracted to minority-owned businesses and 5% to be contracted to women-owned businesses. The half-million-square-foot renovation is a multiyear development, phase 1 of which will include complete renovation of the existing grandstands to add a casino floor, food hall, sports book, parking garage, and other amenities.  Phase 2 will include a hotel and entertainment venue. Hawthorne estimates its total investment into the casino development will be approximately $450 million.

“We are excited to take part in this groundbreaking project,” said John Russell, President of W.E. O’Neil. “Throughout the course of construction, there will be tremendous opportunities for both diverse subcontractors and businesses in the area. We look forward to these partnerships becoming an integral piece of the project’s success.”

The informational expo will include site tours and project details for sub-contractors in all construction trades and is scheduled from 3 pm to 4 pm on Thursday, October 10.

About Hawthorne Race Course
Founded in 1981, Hawthorne Race Course is the oldest sporting venue in Illinois for America’s original sport: horseracing. For more than a century, the 4th generation family-owned and operated business has hosted racing on the outskirts of the City as “Chicago’s hometown track,” which features traditional dirt racing and the 2nd longest homestretch in North America. Currently, Hawthorne is the only race course in the nation to host both Thoroughbred (Spring, Fall, Winter) and Standardbred racing (Summer), and operates Illinois’ largest network of off-track betting parlors.

For more information, visit