Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Applies to Develop Waukegan Casino

On Monday, August 5, leaders of the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino applied to develop a casino in the city of Waukegan. The area, which is in the heart of Potawatomi treaty lands, is rich in tribal history. The application was announced in a press release by the Potawatomi group.

“The city of Waukegan is in search of a qualified developer to bring a first-class entertainment experience with their new casino. They have been successfully operating in this gaming market for several decades and Potawatomi Hotel and Casino is a natural fit to develop this project and create the entertainment destination that Waukegan is seeking,” said CEO and General Manager of Potawatomi Hotel and Casino Rodney Ferguson.

Why Potawatomi Chose Waukegan for their New Casino

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino

One of the oldest communities in the state of Illinois, Waukegan was the first area in Potawatomi the French and early settlers came to. More so, the Potawatomi were living and trading in the area before the early settlers arrived. It was named Little Fort and later changed to Waukegan, the Potawatomi word meaning “trading post”. The Potawatomi reclaimed their economic leadership in Milwaukee when they established the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. And now, they’re ready to grow that even more with the development of the Waukegan casino. Ferguson said in the release that they are excited to bring the level of success Potawatomi Hotel and Casino has experienced to Waukegan. “For nearly 30 years, Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee has been offering visitors from across the country a first-class entertainment experience. Our property attracts more than six million visitors annually, making it one of the largest entertainment destinations in the Midwest…We are excited about the opportunity to bring that same level of success to Waukegan.”

In July 2019, the Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker signed into law a gambling package that grows the number of casino licenses in Illinois. It adds casinos for Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, Williamson County, and Chicago. Should Potawatomi Hotel and Casino develop Waukegan’s casino, it will be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board and be subject to state and local laws.

The City of Waukegan staff will be reviewing developer proposals and finalists will be chosen by the city’s council. Then, they will then forward them to the Illinois Gaming Board by the end of October.

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