Reps For New Waukegan Casino Excited About Opening And What’s To Come

Written By Matt Boecker on April 13, 2023 - Last Updated on April 18, 2023
The Temporary, Waukegan

The Temporary by American Place has been a hit with patrons and that should only amplify once the casino opens all its amenities.

The Waukegan based casino is the short-term placeholder for the permanent venue expected to open in 2025. Despite it being a temporary Illinois casino, guests flooded The Temporary’s floor when it opened its doors on Feb. 17.

In a press release from Full House Resorts, president and CEO Daniel R. Lee said The Temporary welcomed north of 40,000 guests in the first 12 days of operation. American Place marketing manager Julie Ivic told PlayIllinois this was an exciting time for the casino:

“When we opened our doors, our CEO let us know there was a line of cars on the interstate. It wasn’t just trying to get in here and trying to get in through the doors, it was literally on the roads. So that was a really nice message.”

Supervisor for player services Shawn Holcomb said it was a two hour wait just to step foot in The Temporary.

A slight decline in traffic since opening

The excitement of a new casino opening brought many guests to Waukegan to see The Temporary. While foot traffic in The Temporary has taken a dip since the grand opening, Ivic said she believes guest count will rise again once all the amenities in the casino are up and running.

“We opened on a Friday, and that weekend was very successful in terms of attendance and play on our end,” she said. “So with us, we realized that people were going to come and check out the casino and what we have to offer.

“At this time… we don’t have all our amenities up and running. So our restaurants, we’re working on getting all of them open. So I think a lot of people came in, saw everything and there’s just so much more to come. So much more to be, and I think we have to get those amenities open for people to come back and have a reason to at that point.”

Despite the decline in guests since opening, The Temporary still gets high volume in the way of new sign ups for the Legacy Rewards card. Holcomb said:

“On our slowest days…we might have a couple hundred [sign ups]. But on the weekends, we’re well over that into the thousands. We’re really doing this like any business throughout the week, there’s valleys and peaks.”

The Temporary plans to be fully operational in summer

Two restaurants are now open on site.

L’Americain offers buffet-style dining. By May, L’Americain should be offering restaurant-style service.

Asia-Azteca, an Asian fusion restaurant, opened on April 5.

Ivic projects the North Shore Steaks and Seafood restaurant will open in June or July.

Within that same timeframe, Ivic believes Circa Sportsbook will also be open at The Temporary. When Circa does open it will become the eighth Illinois sportsbook.

“Circa actually had to wait for us to open until they could get their license and apply for that,” Ivic said. “So I think by summer we should see everything open up. We should also have our machines, table games, everything completely up and running.”

Ivic and Holcomb both said they get the sense that patrons are highly anticipating Circa Sportsbook’s opening. Ivic has read many reviews and emails inquiring about its opening date, and Holcomb has fielded many phone calls about it.

Holcomb told PlayIllinois:

“I definitely think on a player services level, we have a lot of people that call daily to ask questions about [Circa Sportsbook]. It is kind’ve a separate entity so what will we gain as an APC, hopefully there will be wives and spouses. Not everyone will be doing Circa, but it’s definitely going to increase our attendance, for sure.”

The Temporary takes pride in customer service

One of the casino’s top priorities is offering excellent customer service, and Ivic said guests have been pleased with The Temporary in that regard. Ivic has heard lots of positive feedback, and it’s left guests excited for what’s to come at The Temporary.

Holcomb echoed a similar sentiment, and he credits it to the employees’ upbeat and friendly demeanor.

“We’ve actually had a lot of our players are already returning customers over some of our competitors up north as well as down south in the surrounding area,” Holcomb said. “So we definitely are drawing some of our competitor’s crowd, and I think that speaks volumes considering what we’re currently offering. So once we offer all of our amenities, I feel like we’re going to be the go-to place for these people.”

Slot machines have been a hit

The Temporary is paradise for anyone who likes slot machines. The casino houses nearly 1,000 of them, so it’s no surprise that guests have been drawn to the slots.

Ivic said it’s hard to pinpoint what guests have loved most about The Temporary so far because it’s not at full functionality. But she’s noticed the slot machines are a fan favorite.

“Everyone loves slot machines,” Ivic said. “Everyone is comfortable with those. I think with table games, people are going to be really excited once we get all of our tables up and running. Because we do see a lot of people playing table games, which is nice.”

Photo by Matt Boecker / PlayIllinois
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Matt Boecker

Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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