City officials in Danville, Illinois, are optimistic about the second proposal for a casino in the area.
Earlier in July, the Danville City Council approved a new bid for a casino northwest of the original location at 204 Eastgate Drive.
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“Essentially what we love about it is that it’s not only providing jobs, but providing revenue for our community,” Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said Monday. “We can address things in the community like our aging infrastructure and give people something to do. There will be new places to eat, something fun for everyone and additional entertainment options.”
The Illinois Gaming Board deemed the original application from Haven Gaming LLC incomplete due to the changing nature of the partners a week before the application was submitted, according to a story in The News-Gazette. That meant the required disclosures for the new people on the project were not completed in time.
The second casino proposal bid is being led by Wilmorite Construction, based out of New York. Wilmorite was brought in as a partner earlier this year.
“Wilmorite has developed and operated several casinos,” Williams said. “It is a luxury to have someone with good experience and who will be doing everything. It makes us really excited.”
The new Danville casino is set to feature 500 slots, 10 tables, 42,000 square feet and a steakhouse. But designing those amenities had to be done with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind. Therefore, 10,000 square feet has been added to better handle social distancing concerns.
“They worked on the design and we’ll now have fiberglass dividers,” Williams said.
According to Wilmorite, the 204 Eastgate Drive location is projected to make $66 million, with $6.2 million going to the city.
Williams sees the casino becoming a major entertainment center for Danville. With the addition of the steakhouse and food court, and eventually conference centers, Williams envisions the casino as a hub for the town.
“We don’t have a proper steakhouse in the city of Danville, so to have a place to get a nice steak is amazing,” he said. “We will have a lot of outdoor seating which we don’t have in the town. That will be a good thing. We’re excited about the food court.
"And as we go into the later phases, we are stoked about a conference center and entertainment space. It’s tough to plan an event for more than 300 people in town, so with a center, we think we will be able to draw conferences to Danville that we weren’t able to before.”
Danville is about 130 miles south of Chicago and 30 miles east of Champaign.
If granted a license, Danville Development LLC will pay $1 million each to the Riverfront Development Project, local Boys and Girls Club and municipal improvements.
Since the council has approved the new plan, the Danville Development will submit a draft application to Wilmorite. If the proposal is approved, construction on the initial phase should take eight to nine months.
The 10 commercial casinos in Illinois were closed since mid March because of the coronavirus pandemic. They reopened on July 1 at 50% capacity under new state guidelines and took in $82.6 million in July revenue compared to $115.8 million in July 2019.