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Process of Waukegan Casino Operator Selection Postponed as No Investment Bank Took Part in the RFP

The process of choosing an operator for the planned casino in Waukegan has been delayed, so gamblers who have been looking forward to seeing the beginning of the construction in 2022 will have to wait a little longer. The postponement of the process is due to the fact that the Illinois Gaming Board is still trying to find an investment banker to help it with the assessment of the three companies that had so far applied for the casino license.

As a result of 2019 legislation, Waukegan has become one of the few locations in the state of Illinois that have been permitted to expand their gambling markets by adding a casino, along with Chicago, Rockford, Danville, Williamson County and Cook County.

The Gaming Board issued a formal request for proposal to encourage investment bankers to make an offer for participation in the evaluation process, but at a meeting that took place on January 27th, administrator Marcus Frutcher said no such bids were received by the January 8th deadline. This is what has caused further delay to the procedure of granting the Waukegan casino license.

The request-for-proposal phase commenced in December 2020. At the time when the Illinois Gaming Board issued the RFP, it called some investment banks and other experts for help regarding the assessment of the economic impact that the proposed casino development could have on the state, including the number of jobs that could be potentially created, as well as the overall financial impact of such a venue.

Three Bidders for the Waukegan Casino License Approved by City Council

The Waukegan City Council approved three bidders for the proposed casino in 2019, leaving the state’s gambling regulator to choose one of them. The Illinois Gaming Board was expected to announce its choice for a licensee in October 2020 but said that the process was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for an investment banker.

Once an investment banker is chosen to help the regulatory body with the evaluation of the candidates, the Board is likely to reveal the chosen licensee within six months.

As revealed by the Gaming Board’s spokesperson Joe Miller, a number of options were available to the regulator when it comes to the selection of an investment banker, including the announcement of another request for proposal. Mr. Miller further shared he does not know why no offers from investment bankers were received.

The delay of the Waukegan casino project was found disappointing by the city’s Mayor Sam Cunningham, although he is still looking forward to seeing the potential positive impact such a venue would have on the city and its neighboring communities in the northwestern part of the state. Mr. Cunningham shared that he does not expect any construction of the casino to start until the second or third quarter of 2022.

As mentioned above, there are three applicants for the development of the Waukegan casino – Midwest Gaming, Full House Resorts and North Point Casino. A representative of Midwest Gaming shared that the operator had no comment on the project’s delay, while the two other applicants said they remained excited about the future casino construction, also sharing they have secured the necessary financing for the project.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.