According to the Illinois Gaming Board the gambling yield in Illinois has peaked at $1 Billion. It is shown in the most recent statistics that from January through October Illinois gambling revenue from casinos, sports betting, and video gaming has surpassed $1 billion dollars.
It is clear that Illinois is a very good opponent to match Las Vegas for favorable opportunities in the gambling industry.
Even though it’s a figure less than what officials had wager back in June 2019, since at that moment there was a crucial gambling extension law that would permit the building of six new casinos. To which now of those six only one is up and running. The casino is the Hard Rock Casino Rock which had an opening this past November with a short-term location.
Illinois gaming directors have taken the next step and have moved forward with their game plan that is based on putting casinos in the suburbs of Waukegan, the most populous city of Illinois, the city is located within the Chicago metropolitan area, situated approximately 29 miles north of Chicago’s North Side. The law from 2019 also assigned a casino in the south suburbs.
The members of the Illinois Gambling Board have chosen the proposition that will construct that casino in East Hazel Crest and Homewood, instead of striving against the proposal of having it on Matteson. The members of the board have not yet disclosed how they chose which petitioners conquered. Although the only formal released statement was recognition and thank you to all the applicants for their hard work from the chair Charles Schmadeke. Mr Schamadeke firmly stated, “It certainly shows the quality of the work and it’s made our job not easy, but it certainly has informed our work”.
The IGB decided that for Waukegan they would accept the submission by the publicly-traded company Full House Reports, Inc., handled by American Place, above the approach led by former Illinois Senator Michale Bond, North Point Casino.
This past October Daniel Lee the CEO of FUlls house committed to bringing Las Vegas exuberance to Waukegan. He proposed his plans to make Waukegan a destination for non-gamblers with water attributes and helipads for high-end gamers.
“It becomes an attraction you want to come and see, and it’s a non-gaming attraction that when people come into town, you will bring them here,” he said.
On Wednesday the 8th of December the offer of two finalists for the casino that was granted by the 2019 law was won to the general south suburban region. Wind Creek Illinois LLC was the winner of the bid and with its prize is planning to construct a casino at a site that covers parts of Homewood and East Hazel Crest making it a ten-minute drive from the Indiana border. This location is designed to increase the revenue and has also been discussed that there’s a layout for a sky lounge, restaurants, spa, and concert venue, a full resort vision practically.
Brent Pinkston the Wind Creek COO stated to the IGB: “Being this close to Indiana and being the only Four Diamond resort in the area, we will attract those user dollars to Illinois instead of the opposite that’s been happening the last couple decades” on his last presentation.
The IGB director Marcus Fruchter announced that “Preliminary suitability is just that. It’s preliminary and is no guarantee of final licensure. While it’s a very significant step that allows the applicant to seek approval to begin construction and take other steps toward commencement of gaming operations and ultimate licensure, preliminary is a mere formality.”
On other latest gambling news regarding Waukegan is currently facing a bit of a challenge with the federal court. This was brought up by the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe who claim that city officials have manipulated the bidding to favor North Point, in this case, the IGB is not a part of it. The Potawatomi have also a separate lawsuit where they try to block the IGB from getting Waukegan the casino license but it was denied by the Cook County circuit court judge. This shows that the progress of casinos in southern Illinois is still on track.
Although cases like this have appeared, casinos are still getting good insight from officials such as the governor. Governor J.B. Pritzker stated:
“I was very proud to work with the General Assembly to expand jobs and economic opportunity to southern Illinois, Walker’s Bluff was already a popular attraction bringing in tourists and business meetings from across the region. Now with the addition of hundreds of slot machines, game tables and an on-site hotel, this expansion will bring in even more visitors to take advantage of the beauty and the hospitality of southern Illinois.”
Supporters of the gambling extension say that even though Illinois has had a slow beginning toward the casinos, the state has been decreasing its tourism and revenue“It really just aggravated me that the Illinois teachers union would go to St. Louis for their annual meeting, or anybody else would go to another state because they had enough room – that was the big thing – the other thing was that they had gaming,” said Walker’s Bluff LLC founding partner Cynde Bunch.
Adversaries believe that the revenue of Illinois that will be created through gambling to pay for groundwork upgrades are not being taken into account.
Chicago has already gotten five bids from potential casino operators. The future of the sixth casino permission in 2019 remains inconclusive.
Investors of a casino in Danville, just across the border from Indiana, are waiting for gaming board approval.
Illinois definitely has the potential to become the next Las Vegas but it’s up to the future decision to see it will be successful