There's an old gambling term about putting your money down and taking your chances. That's what Waukegan and its casino partners did Tuesday as they went before the Illinois Gaming Board hopefully in search of the state's 10th and final gaming license.
On top of the $225 million bid for the old Emerald Casino license, Waukegan told gaming board members that in its first full year of operation the proposed site at Fountain Square would generate $379 million in gross gambling revenues. And, those monies would be available sooner than the other two locations, tainted Rosemont and bland and boring Des Plaines. The land is already zoned for a casino in Waukegan, there's hotels already there and plenty of parking. It's also a hop, skip and jump from the Tri-State Tollway.
And, according to a marketing study done by the Waukegan group, the Lake County site would also generate an additional $200 million in additional state and local taxes after factoring our land-based location would not negatively impact riverboats in Elgin, Joliet and Aurora. Also, the study maintains a northern Illinois casino would draw gamblers from Wisconsin.
The Hound won't even mention the number of new jobs --- good-paying union jobs --- for construction of a 50,000-square-foot facility and an accompanying 150-room hotel. Let's not forget the original intent of the state's gaming intent.
But more importantly, does Illinois once again want to go through the question marks surrounding a Rosemont casino? Such as the rumors the entire village is mobbed up.
Back in 2004 when Rosemont was a lock for the 10th license, Attorney General Lisa Madigan --- a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2010 --- questioned whether Rosemont and its then mayor, Donald Stephens, had ties to the Chicago Outfit, something the late mayor denied.
His son, Bradley Stephens, is now mayor and saying the village will adopt all sorts of ordinances in order to win the license with a bid of $435 million. Is this a warning sign or not to the gaming board?
Waukegan should get this license. Then again, this is Illinois and anything can happen. Stay tuned.