Full House Resorts Granted Extension for Waukegan Casino Development

Full House Resorts, the Las Vegas-based company, is currently working on plans to construct a $400 million casino resort named American Place in Waukegan, Il. The resort aims to cater to VIP players. However, the project has been delayed due to a lawsuit filed by the Forest County Potawatomi Community against the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and the City of Waukegan.

The company won the bid for Waukegan’s sole gaming license in 2021 and their American Place project was approved by the IGB in December of the same year. They subsequently opened a temporary gaming facility called “The Temporary by American Place” with slot machines and table games in February 2023. Sports betting was also added to the facility.

The Illinois gaming law stipulates that temporary casinos can operate for a maximum of two years, meaning American Place must be operational by February 17, 2025. However, the Forest County Potawatomi Community filed a lawsuit alleging that the bidding process was rigged and Mayor Sam Cunningham influenced city councilors to favor certain bids.

Although the lawsuit was initially dismissed, the Potawatomi’s appeal was granted by the First District Appellate Court, thereby halting Full House Resorts from beginning construction. The IGB and Waukegan have appealed this decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, but a ruling is not expected until January.

As a result, Full House Resorts is unable to obtain financing for the project while the litigation is ongoing. The company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Alex Stolyar, stated that everything is on pause until the litigation is resolved against the city and the state.

In light of the delayed construction, the Illinois General Assembly has passed legislation allowing for extensions of temporary casino operations under certain conditions. This is intended to allow the temporary facility to continue operating beyond the February 17, 2025 deadline. Full House Resorts plans to feature upscale gaming, high-end restaurants, and a 1,500-seat entertainment center at American Place, along with a 20-room, all-suite hotel designed specifically for VIP gamers.