A company that was once willing to get Waukegan’s casino operating license and got rejected by the city a couple of years ago is now asking a Cook County Circuit Court judge to block the process so its application is also taken into consideration. The move is expected to cause even more delay in the procedure of awarding the casino license.
A week ago, on November 16th, the operator, which is a limited liability company owned by the Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin, started seeking a court order to become constituted as one of the potential bidders for the Waukegan casino. Two years ago, the Potawatomi tribe, which currently owns a casino venue in Milwaukee, was originally one of the four bidders who addressed the Waukegan City Council with the request to send its application to the state’s gambling regulator. Three of the four contestants were approved, while the tribe was not.
Originally, the city authorities gave their approval to the applications of Full House Resorts, Midwest Gaming and North Point Casino but excluded the Potawatomi tribe from further consideration. After Midwest Gaming decided to leave the competition in September, Full House Resorts and North Point Casino remained the only two rivals for the casino license.
Soon after getting rejected from further participation in the application process, the Potawatomi tribe took the city of Waukegan to court, claiming it had manipulated the process in order to favor another company, which had made donations for the political campaigns of some city officials. Currently, the case is pending in Chicago’s federal court.
Waukegan Casino License Decision Postponed by the Illinois Gaming Board
On November 16th when the Illinois Gaming Board posted its agenda for a special meeting set to be held on November 18th, revealing it was ready to announce its preliminary decision on the Waukegan casino license, the Potawatomi tribe took the regulator to the Cook County court as it aimed at blocking the further progress of the proceedings.
The Indian tribe feared that either one of the last two competitors for the casino operating permit would receive the license, negating the tribe’s effort to be constituted as a valid applicant through the aforementioned federal litigation. According to court documents, if the Illinois Gaming Board moved forward and announced its decision on the Waukegan casino license, it would foreclose the chances for the Potawatomi tribe to get equitable relief against the city as any possibility of meaningful negotiations between the two parties would be cut.
At the meeting of the Illinois Gaming Board, the administrator of the state’s gambling regulatory body, Marcus Fruchter, said that the regulator was served with the lawsuit of the Potawatomi tribe on November 16th. That was the reason why it decided to postpone its decision on the Waukegan casino operating license.
Then the legal representatives of the state’s gambling watchdog and the Indian tribe appeared in court, they agreed no action to be taken before a mediation procedure involving the Potawatomi tribe and the city of Waukegan takes place.
They are expected to meet at federal court for a procedure of mediation on November 30th. A spokesperson for the Potawatomi tribe confirmed that the federal court mediation would include a discussion for a resolution of the issue. Then, on December 6th, they are expected to return to Cook County Court.