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Waukegan Casino Developer Search Continues Despite Legal Battles

Home » Waukegan Casino Developer Search Continues Despite Legal Battles

Waukegan’s casino developer quest is still ongoing despite a firm claiming exclusive rights of the development of a casino in the city. Waukegan has extended the deadline for casino developers to submit their proposals for consideration. However, a firm that was involved in Waukegan’s efforts in 2009 to have a casino claim that the city is not allowed to give the contract to any other developer but them.

The disagreement stems from a 2004 deal for redevelopment. The city granted Waukegan Gaming LLC the exclusive rights to develop and operate a casino in the city. The casino developer at the time the deal was established was operating under a different name.

The last time Waukegan Gaming LLC tried to get a casino license the efforts were in vain because the license was eventually given to Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. The casino developer lost the bid to get the casino license because there were concerns raised by the Illinois Gaming Board about the company’s connection to William Cellini. Cellini was a political insider who was charged on a gambling scheme.

Waukegan Casino developer

Waukegan City Wants Casino Developer Contract Dismissed

The Waukegan city went to a judge last month to have the contract with Waukegan Gaming LLC disregarded. The city claims that the contract with the Waukegan casino developer expired in 2010. Therefore, the city of Waukegan is under no obligation to give the casino developer exclusive rights. The city also shared with the judge that the legislation authorizing Waukegan City to have a casino requires the city to have a transparent and competitive bidding process.

The same day Gov J.B Pritzker decreed that the gambling expansion package will include a casino in Waukegan, the city filed for a court judgement.


Mayor Sam Cunningham advised the decision to file on the same day as the enactment of the gambling expansion regulation. He thought that if the city did not act immediately, the city would not meet  the 120-day deadline. The city will have to present the shortlisted Waukegan casino developers to the Illinois Gaming Board.

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