City Council Cuts Suburban Chicago Casino Bidders Down to 3
The Waukegan City Council in Illinois cut the field down to three final bidders for a prospective casino this past Thursday in a meeting.
The fourth proposal from Potawatomi Casino in Waukegan is also looking into a rehearing for its company. It had two votes of support with a nine-member council and the reconsideration and a new vote on its proposal, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Currently, the trio of proposals that are being considered by the Waukegan City Council are from Full House Resorts, North Point Casino and Rivers Casino. Now, the Illinois Gaming Board will look at it for further review.
Johnson Consultants Inc. of Chicago was hired by the city to go over the review for potential developers for a Waukegan casino. Results displayed on Oct. 11 it showed that two of the casinos were near the top.
The company ranked all the proposals with a numerical scale fully looking at four separate matters: specifications and locations; description of proposed development; the project team; and experience and financial data.
“Full House and North Point are about neck-and-neck,” Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham said.
Full House finished with the best score at 1.5 as 1 is the highest score you can get in each of the four categories in the study. North Point was the next best at 1.8 with Rivers Casino (2.0) and Potawatomi Casino (2.5) coming in third and fourth respectively.
Waukegan Casino Proposals Under Consideration
Documents that were sent to the city said that the Full House Resorts proposal calls for a casino with 1,500 slot machines, 60 tables games (roulette, blackjack and three-card poker) included an area as well for sports betting. The gross revenue projection comes in at $173 million.
The other proposal up in the rankings is the North Point Casino which was sent in by Warner Gaming and by Michael Bond, the owner of Tap Room Gaming. He was a Democratic Senator from 2007-11 in Illinois. The casino would feature 1,100 slot machines and 48 gaming tables. The building would also house a 5,300-square foot sports betting area as well as a two-acre amphitheater outside and restaurants that will be built and launched in the initial phase. The projected gross revenue from the casino games was placed at $190 million.
The third proposal under consideration is the Rivers Casino which is pushing for a 1,625-seat casino for gaming with a poker room and the room to create more games overall. The company has a projection of $282 million in gross revenue.
On the outside looking in is Potawatomi Casino in Waukegan. It has plans for a 130,000 square-foot plot of land along with 1,800 gaming devices, 50 tables games (blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and baccarat included). Also, sports betting would be authorized through the sports bar on site. The company has a $284 million projection in gross revenue.
The city of Waukegan now has to send its final recommendations to the Illinois Gaming Board by Oct. 25.
Waukegan is one of several communities in Illinois are at various stages of a casino project, including Rockford and Danville, which are both within a few hours of Chicago by car.
A recent study concluded that there was no site in Chicago itself suited for a casino because of the tax structure in the Illinois gaming bill, making it too difficult for a Chicago casino to turn a profit.
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Jake Perper covers casino news for TopUSCasinos.com. A veteran of more than a decade of sports writing, he has covered the Chicago Bears for the Bears Backer blog, and his stories have also appeared on nfl.com, The Tampa Tribune, The Naples Daily News and Bleacher Report. He is also the leas scout for Prep Hoops Florida, based in Tampa.