This week, officials in Waukegan began the search process for developers to help with a new casino project. The city will be created a new casino thanks to a recently approved gambling expansion in the state of Illinois. On Wednesday, a request for qualifications and proposals was released. The request requires estimated costs for development as well as ideas as to where and how the casino should be built along with estimated revenue projections for the venue.

Moving Forward:

The developer search marks the next step in the redevelopment of Waukegan, according to Sam Cunningham, the city’s mayor. He pointed out that the process will be transparent as a lot of eyes will be on the city and how they handle themselves will be critical.

The city must move quickly as they have only 120 days before they must go before the state Gaming Board with their selection of an owner or operator. In the request for proposals, the city is asking potential developers to provide details of their ideas, including where the casino will be located and what would be on offer, such as how many gaming positions and what types of games.

Additional information to be included in proposals would be plans for sports betting, the layout of the facility and plans for parking. Any associated facilities, such as a hotel, convention space, retail, entertainment or restaurants should be submitted. Potential developers have until July 22nd to submit concepts by 3pm sharp.

According to…

Mayor Cunningham continues to push for the Fountain Square shopping center to be the home of the casino. According to documents presented this week during the announcement of the developer search, other sites that are owned by the city are recommended, including areas near the lakefront and downtown.

During the Wednesday, the Mayor pointed out he had been close-minded when it came to the location because the shopping center is located near major highways which would be important. However, he understands it makes sense to leave the possibilities open to the potential developers.

Details of the Law

The law allowing the casino to be constructed has set details, such as how revenues will be shared. A total of 5% of gross receipts will be set aside for the casino. For the host community shares, Waukegan will earn 70% of that total with North Chicago earning 15%, Park City provided 10% and Lake County 5%.

The land-based casino facility will be able to house up to 2,000 gaming positions. A minimum of 1,600 must be included at opening. The facility must also include sports betting.

Once proposals have been submitted, they will be looked over by a city review team and ranked. The city is expecting as many as 10 to 12 proposals. The city has been working hard to be considered as one that would house a new casino in Illinois. Back in May, Mayor Cunningham testified before the House of Representatives stating that land was shovel-ready in his community for a casino property.