Currently, the company chosen by the Waukegan authorities to operate a casino in the city is not unveiling any plans on when it might give an official start of the planned permanent gambling venue in the north suburbs. At the same time, a competitor’s legal action alleging that the selection process for a casino operating permit was a “sham” is already in court.
Dan Lee, the chief executive officer of Full House Resorts, noted that the recently revived litigation of Forest County Potawatomi Community against the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and the city of Waukegan may end up with a serious delay in the planned start of construction and financing for the permanent casino structure. As part of a quarterly earnings call with investors, the company’s boss shared that, although being chosen as the preferred candidate, his company had not started construction yet but it was actively designing the venue.
Mr. Lee also said that the lawsuits will end up being resolved and the construction would be able to go forward as planned. The company has previously shared plans to have its permanent casino in the city up and running sometime in 2025. It is allowed to operate its temporary gambling facility in Waukegan through early 2026.
As CasinoGamesPro reported earlier, the Waukegan authorities unveiled Full House Resorts as their preferred candidate for the city’s casino license almost two years ago. Since February 2023, the company has been operating a temporary casino in Waukegan, with the venue being responsible for an adjusted gross revenue of over $30 million by the end of June 2023.
Illinois Appellate Court Sides with Potawatomi Tribe, Reviving Its Waukegan Casino Lawsuit
The US company had been willing to start the construction of its $400-million permanent “American Place” casino project this year. The venue is planned as a high-end gambling establishment aimed at attracting high-rollers with some ultra-luxurious accommodation options and entertainment options.
The corporation’s CEO, however, confirmed that the initial timeline for the project has been delayed after an Illinois appellate court ruled in favor of the Potawatomi Tribe in July as part of the Native American nation’s ongoing legal battle over the selection process for the Waukegan casino. As CasinoGamesPro reported, the Potawatomi nation claims that the process of how city officials selected their preferred casino developers was flawed, including when the final selection of candidates was forwarded to the Illinois Gaming Board for final approval.
The Potawatomi tribe filed a federal legal action shortly after Waukegan officials dismissed its bid for the casino even though the project was scoring well on the rating system of the consultant that was hired by the city. The Native American Nation also started legal action in Cook County, as it aimed to prevent the regulatory body from issuing the casino operating permit that ended up being handed out to Full House Resorts.
The legal representatives of the Potawatomi tribe have argued that the casino certification process was flawed, with Sam Cunningham, the former Mayor of Waukegan, telling city council members which bids to back. That lawsuit was originally dismissed by a Cook County judge after the Waukegan casino license was handed to Full House Resorts by the Illinois Gaming Board. For the time being, Full House Resorts is not a defendant in any of the litigations and is not accused of any wrongdoing.
The case was officially revived by the state’s First District Appellate Court on July 28th after the judges agreed that the Potawatomi tribe had the legal grounds to continue the lawsuit. The federal lawsuit of the tribe is still pending.