Suburban Chicago Casinos Nearing Construction

Suburban Chicago Casinos Nearing Construction

Bally’s isn’t the only casino operator taking big steps forward on development plans in the Chicago area this month.

As the gambling industry focused on Bally’s selection last week for the city’s first casino, Full House Resorts finalized an agreement with the far north suburb of Waukegan to clear the way for a temporary casino to open next to where the company plans to build a more than $400 million entertainment complex with 1,000 slot machines and 50 table games, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The temporary casino site on Lakehurst Road will be running by September, and stay open while the permanent facility is under construction, which could take two to three years to complete, the Tribune reported.

The temporary agreement “is a big step,” Full House’s Alex Stolyer said, according to the Tribune. “There are a lot of economic benefits to the city. This is a commitment to the community of what we will build.”

Full House will pay Waukegan $3 million a year or 2.5 percent of the corporation’s adjusted gross revenue, whichever is greater, to run the temporary casino on the 28-acre city-owned site, where much of the casino will be built, according to the agreement. After the permanent casino opens, Full House has an option to purchase the land for $30 million; the developer itself already owns 10 acres next door, near the Fountain Square Shopping Center.

The deal is the latest high-profile casino development in the Chicago area to make substantial progress since Governor JB Pritzker signed a 2019 bill into law that created paths to new casinos across the state. The first Chicago casino is on track to be operated by Bally’s in River West after last week’s decision by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to put that $1.7 billion proposal to a full City Council vote.

Full House’s temporary casino will be 70,000 square feet, and the permanent casino, dubbed American Place, will be 325,000 square feet with 2,000 gaming stations, according to the agreement.

Along with the casino, the Waukegan resort could include a 20-unit boutique suite hotel, four sit-down restaurants, and a 1,500-seat entertainment venue, according to the agreement. Phase 2 will add a 150-room hotel. If the company determines the hotel isn’t feasible, it will spend $50 million on other related improvements, the Tribune reported.

In addition to the Waukegan and Chicago casinos, Wind Creek Hospitality is nearing a groundbreaking on a $440 million proposal to build a 64,000-square-foot casino and potentially two hotels on the border of Chicago’s southern suburbs Homewood and East Hazel Crest.

[Chicago Tribune] – Sam Lounsberry

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