Full House Resorts Enters Illinois, Opens Temporary Casino in Waukegan

Posted on: February 20, 2023, 10:30h. 

Last updated on: February 21, 2023, 09:16h.

The newest casino in Illinois opened over the weekend.

The Temporary
A blackjack dealer stands behind her table at The Temporary at American Place, a casino built by Full House Resorts. The short-term casino, which will operate while Full House builds a larger, permanent venue, opened on Friday to the public in Waukegan, Ill. (Image: The Temporary by American Place/Facebook)

Full House Resorts welcomed guests to The Temporary by American Place in Waukegan on Friday evening. As the name suggests, it will serve as a short-term facility while the Las Vegas-based company prepares to build the upscale casino roughly 10 miles south of the Wisconsin state line in the Lake County community.

Full House is using a 68,000-square-foot tension membrane structure built by Sprung Industries to house about 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and a Circa Sports sportsbook.

We thank the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) and its staff for their assistance throughout The Temporary’s construction and preparation,” said Dan Lee, Full House Resorts president and CEO. “I also want to thank our own team of approximately 500 founding employees, who have worked diligently to prepare us for this exciting moment.”

The Temporary is located at the Fountain Square of Waukegan, which is where Full House plans to build the $400 million American Place Casino Resort.

A Pretty Big Deal for Full House

Full House’s newest casino may start paying dividends for the company in short order.

During the company’s third quarter earnings call with analysts in November, Lee noted The Temporary could be even “bigger than our whole company.”

Three casinos – Rivers Des Plaines and Grand Victoria Elgin in Illinois, and the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee – generate about $1.2 billion in revenues annually, Lee told analysts last year. The new casino will be located in Lake County, just north of Chicago, which is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.

“We’re the only casino in Lake County, we’re kind of in the middle of it,” Lee said during the quarterly call. “So, I think we’ll grow the gambling by people who live there because it’ll be much more convenient.”

American Place will cater to higher-end clientele. Part of the initial development will be The Mansion, a hotel that will consist of 20 private villas between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet. Full House plans another hotel as part of the resort’s second phase.

More Casinos Coming to Illinois

Illinois state lawmakers approved new casino licenses in Waukegan and five other communities as part of an expanded gaming law passed in 2019. Previously, Illinois had 10 casinos across the state.

A Hard Rock Casino in Rockford opened a temporary facility in November 2021. The permanent facility is slated to open in November of this year. A Golden Nugget casino is expected to open a temporary facility in Danville, a central Illinois city on the Indiana state line, later this spring. And the Walker’s Bluff Casino in Carterville, in the southern part of the state, should open later this year.

Casinos will also go up in Chicago and Chicago’s south suburbs.

Chicago officials last year selected Bally’s Corp. to build a $1.7 billion resort along the Chicago River, where the Chicago Tribune printing plant currently stands. Before that opens in 2026, Bally’s plans to open a temporary casino at the Medinah Temple.

Bally’s application before the IGB is currently pending.

In East Hazel Crest, a Chicago suburb, Wind Creek is constructing a 70,000-square-foot Wind Creek Chicago Southland casino with 1,350 slot machines, 56 table games, and a 252-room luxury hotel just minutes from the Indiana state line.