Illinois Casino Decision in Danville Delayed Until October

Illinois Casino Decision in Danville Delayed Until October
By Jake Perper

The Danville casino in Illinois has delayed its looming decision for a few weeks.

On Sept. 17, Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. made the announcement that the selection of a casino operating partner has been put on hold.

“We are still awaiting a few final financial documents as well as negotiating community benefits with both applicants,” Williams Jr. told the Commercial-News in Danville. “We're doing all we can to get the very best deal for the city.”

The meeting with the City Council members and Williams Jr. was set up to pick the casino operator and then vote on accepting the endorsed group.

However, this will be discussed again on Oct. 1, in another meeting which will include the casino operator proposal, followed by a vote and recommendation, the Commercial-News reported.

Danville Casino Operators in Contention

Back in June, the state lawmakers approved to bring legal sports betting to Illinois with six potential casinos including the one in Danville.

Two casino operator suitors have emerged in the casino bidding process in Danville, per the News-Gazette in nearby Champaign. Those two casino operators have yet to be revealed.

Both casino operators who are still in the bidding for the new Danville casino have put in their developmental plans for a location that is near the Interstate 74 Lynch Drive Exit. This comes shortly after a long-awaited Chicago casino was put on ice after no viable location was found.

The newfound location would be on 40 acres of undeveloped farmland close to the Indiana state line. The spot would be near Urbana and Champaign, Illinois. The major cities of Indianapolis (about 90 miles to the east) and Chicago (about 150 miles north) would also be within a reasonable drive.

Commercial-News reported that Mayor Williams Jr. expedited the process due to the competition in the surrounding areas across the neighboring borders.

Typically, locking down a location for a casino can take roughly a year in time. So, Illinois is trying to speed it up with other states trying to get in on the revenue.

Williams Focused on Finding Best Fit

In a Sept. 3 meeting with city council in Danville for the plan on the future casino, Williams discussed it via the Danville City Council official website through a recording.

“We had two very strong proposals – both of which selected the Lynch Road site," he said. "And because they both chose the same location we will be moving ahead with getting the site before the Zoning Commission as soon as possible. It will be as an item of information next Thursday, and then for a vote in October.

Mayor Williams said they will be decelerating the development somewhat to help Danville select the best casino operator for its city, saying, "We are in the process right now of doing due diligence in regards to the financial and regulatory capacity of the two finalists. Again, both of them are strong – just in different ways."

The laid-out deadline for the casino operator to apply for the casino license in Danville is Oct. 28, a date the Illinois Gaming Board established. Zoning and more will take place after.

At that Oct. 1 meeting, the casino operator that earns the bid will display their presentation for Danville city council members and Mayor Williams.

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Jake Perper covers casino news for A veteran of more than a decade of sports writing, he has covered the Chicago Bears for the Bears Backer blog, and his stories have also appeared on, The Tampa Tribune, The Naples Daily News and Bleacher Report. He is also the leas scout for Prep Hoops Florida, based in Tampa.

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