Temporary Illinois Casino In Waukegan Now Expected To Open In December

Written By Dave Briggs on September 12, 2022
Full House Resorts won the Waukegan casino license, and it has revealed plans about when the temporary casino will open to the public.

A temporary Illinois casino in Waukegan is now expected to open in December.

The American Place temporary casino — owned and operated by Full House — was previously expected to open in October.

Today, the exterior of the casino complex is mostly complete. Now crews with Turner Construction are working on the inside of the 75,000-square foot gambling hall located adjacent to the Fountain Square Shopping Center.

The temporary Waukegan casino will offer:

  • 1,000 slot machines
  • 50 table games
  • A Circa sportsbook
  • A variety of dining options: three sit-down restaurants, other food options and a large bar

Notably, the partnership with Full House at the Waukegan facility is the gateway for Circa to launch its Illinois sportsbook app. When it does, Circa will become the eighth sports betting operator in Illinois.

Supply chain issues caused the delay in opening

Alex Stolyar, the senior vice president and chief development officer for Full House Resorts, told the Lake County News-Sun that supply chain issues and complications in the approval process have slowed construction on the temporary facility.

It will employ 700 people once operational, Stolyar said.

The Waukegan site is one of six new casinos approved for the Land of Lincoln in a 2019 gambling expansion. Illinois is already home to 11 casinos and, apart from Waukegan, is adding major sites in downtown Chicago, Danville, the South Suburbs, Walker’s Bluff and Rockford, where a temporary casino is already open.

Permanent Illinois casino in Waukegan due to open in 2025

The permanent American Place casino will open in Waukegan in 2025. It has a $400 million price tag.

It will feature:

  • 1,640 slots
  • 100 table games
  • A permanent sportsbook
  • 1,500-seat entertainment venue
  • 20 ‘villa-style’ rooms called The Mansion in the initial phase. A second phase will include a 150-room hotel

Notably, Full House Resorts prides itself on providing a lavish experience for players and maintains casinos in Mississippi, Indiana, Nevada and Colorado.

Casino located between Chicago and Milwaukee

Waukegan is the county seat of Lake County, IL, with a population of 87,000 as of the 2020 census. It is 24 miles north of Chicago and 54 miles south of Milwaukee. Full House hopes to draw gambling customers from both cities to American Place.

There is a high population in the region. The larger area is home to more than 10 million people. The population of the Chicago metro area — or Chicagoland, which includes Waukegan — is 8.9 million. Milwaukee and area have a population of nearly 1.5 million.

By comparison, the temporary casino at Rockford opened in November 2021. So far, it has produced gross revenue exceeding $30 million in 2022 through July. And Hard Rock Rockford also set a record for attendance in July when it received 45,000 customers. The full-time casino will open in 2023.

It’s worth noting that the Illinois casino industry has rebounded from two difficult pandemic years. Through July of this year, casino revenue is over $773 million. That’s down just 0.5% from the last “normal” comparable year in 2019 when revenue in the first seven months was $778 million.

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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in North America with an emphasis on the casino, sports betting, horse racing and poker sectors. He is currently reporting on the gaming industries in Illinois and Canada.

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