In Waukegan, Illinois, a concrete pad at the former Fountain Square location will be the site of the Temporary by American Place casino by the end of the year, according to officials at Full House Resorts, developers of the new casino hotel.
They said the venue, the size of three football fields, will actually be a tent made of material designed to handle the weather during its expected life span. The temporary structure will offer 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games, three restaurants and a bar.
The permanent casino resort, expected to open in 2025, will feature 1,640 slots, 100 table games and a sportsbook, plus a 1,500-seat entertainment venue, six bars and several restaurants and a rooftop helipad. In addition, the Mansion at American Place will offer 20 luxury villas with butlers, room service and a spa.
The casino’s location is one of the top reasons Full House officials believe it will be a success. When it opens, it will be the closest casino for 1.2 million people in Lake County and southern Wisconsin. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Elgin’s Grand Victoria Casino and Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee are within a 1-hour drive of Waukegan.
Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said developers have held several job fairs to fill positions at the temporary casino. She noted, “With the casino coming in, we’ve been starting to see a lot of buzz with Waukegan. I think other businesses see Waukegan is on the cusp and they want to be part of it.” Other advantages are Metra access to downtown Chicago and the city’s location halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Taylor said.
Nearby regional casinos have nothing to worry about from American Place, said Tom Thanas, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. “Brick-and-mortar casinos have been operating in the state for 30 years now. The casinos have always adjusted and reacted and welcomed the competition.”