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Casino Development Agreement Gets Waukegan City Council’s Unanimous Approval to Proceed as Planned

The city of Waukegan seems to be getting a better idea of some of the benefits it is expected to get with the progress of each of the casino development stages over the upcoming five years, especially considering the fact that Full House Resorts American Place temporary casino is set to open early in 2023.

Once the temporary casino starts operation on 75,000 square feet with 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, an in-person sportsbook, and various dining options, the construction work on the 325,000-square-foot permanent casino and resort is set to commence. The development of the permanent gambling resort is expected to be finalized three years later.

As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, there will be many benefits for the region. The newest entertainment venue in Waukegan will not only attract more visitors but will start generating revenue for the city. Apart from that, there will be rent from a ground lease and some property taxes, not to mention that everyone who enters the casino would have to pay a head tax.

At a meeting that took place on January 3rd, the City Council unanimously gave the green light to its ground lease and development agreement with Full House, the operator of the planned casino resort. The approval, which was also unanimously recommended by Waukegan’s Community Development Committee, finalized all agreements between the two parties before being sent for final approval to the state’s gambling regulator, the Illinois Gaming Board.

Temporary Full House Casino Scheduled to Start Operation in Early 2023

As Stewart Weiss, the corporation counsel of Waukegan, explained at the last committee meeting, closing the agreements with Full House was one of the requirements that had to be met before the gaming board allowed the temporary casino to start operation. He further shared that the company’s temporary casino is set to be facing some final inspections and licensing procedures with the Illinois Gaming Board through January, with the state gambling license being the last step before the casino opening.

Mr. Weiss explained that the entire development is a complex, three-phase transaction that is nothing like others that have been handled by the city of Waukegan. The temporary casino facility is only the first phase of the project, while the permanent casino with an entertainment venue, an adjacent 20-room boutique suite hotel and more dining options will come next. A 150-room three-star hotel is scheduled to start operation within a few more years.

Full House may eventually decide not to build the large hotel but under the provisions of its development agreement the company is required to invest $50 million in an “alternate amenity”. Making such an investment is also part of the requirements unveiled by the Illinois Gaming Board for the company to meet before getting final approval to proceed with the planned construction.

After the opening of the temporary casino, Full House is expected to pay an impact fee worth $150,000 to the city of Waukegan to cover some extra municipal expenses, such as fire protection, police and public works efforts. The ground lease will guarantee the greater of $3 million a year to the city, or 2.5% of the adjusted gross income of the operation. The casino owner is provided with the chance to purchase the city-owned land for $30 million but is still required to pay rent to the city of Waukegan for the first three years, even in case it sells the land to someone else.

 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.