Full House Casino Off to Fast Start in Illinois

Posted on: July 27, 2023, 08:04h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 12:56h.

Full House Resorts (NASDAQ: FLL) is rapidly ascending the ranks of the Illinois casino market, one of the largest in the U.S. outside of Nevada.

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 is the third-most attended gaming venue in Illinois. (Image: The Temporary by American Place/Facebook)

In February, the operator opened the temporary version of American Place in Waukegan, Ill. Since then, The Temporary has become the number three gaming venue in the state in terms of attendance. That’s while placing sixth as measured by monthly adjusted gaming revenue, according to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

On an average monthly basis, the Waukegan casino is drawing 70,107 visitors, putting it 321 ahead of the Hollywood Casino Aurora and 1,812 ahead of Draft Kings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis. Both opened in 1993,” reports Steve Sadin for the Chicago Tribune.

Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino in Des Plaines is the Illinois leader, as measured by attendance and monthly gross adjusted gaming revenue. Still, The Temporary is averaging $7.5 million in monthly gross adjusted revenue, noted IGB, signaling a fast start for Full House’s newest property. The Temporary’s gaming assets will be transferred to the permanent venue when it opens. American Place will be the only casino in Lake County, Ill., which is home to more than 700K residents.

American Place Critical

Over the near term, The Temporary’s attendance could increase, because with football season right around the corner, Circa Sports is readying to launch in Illinois next month. It’s doing so via a partnership with Full House.

Circa will operate the retail sportsbook at American Place when that venue opens, bringing one of the biggest names in the Las Vegas sports betting scene to Illinois. Circa’s presence could be an enhancement to a venue that, on its own, could generate more revenue for Full House than the other properties in its portfolio combined.

At least one analyst believes that once visitors step inside The Temporary, they’ll be even more enthusiastic about going to American Place when it’s operational.

As such, we believe FLL may increase marketing spend to drive traffic. Once patrons visit, we believe the property continues to garner repeat/regular players with higher-than-average spend (we remain bullish on Waukegan, just elongating the upper bar timeline),” wrote B. Riley analyst David Bain in a report out earlier this week. “Still, after changes, FLL valuation indicates a near peer-low multiple despite a peer-high growth rate.”

Bain rates Full House a “buy” with a $13 price target, implying upside of more than 100% from Thursday’s closing price of $6.31.

The Temporary Providing Economic Benefits

One of the primary reasons Illinois signed off on gaming expansion is because the state needs cash. The Temporary is delivering.

Since its debut, the Full House venue has delivered $3.5 million in new revenue to the state and another $1.5 million to North Chicago, Park City, and Waukegan, according to the Tribune.

Over the near term, those figures could be boosted by the addition of the Circa sportsbook and new eateries. Those numbers are likely to increase in notable fashion when American Place ramps up.