In June 2019, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a gambling expansion law allowing the establishment of six new casinos in the state.
One of the six casinos is in Danville. The city submitted its offer in November, but it has not yet been approved. According to Mayor Rickey Williams, the main reasons for this are the current coronavirus pandemic.
According to the law, the state has a period of one year to approve any applications for licenses and to explain the reasons for the rejections.
Delays due to the coronavirus pandemic
Mr. Marcus Fruchter, administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, confirmed in october the role of the pandemic in the application process. According to Mr. Fruchter, the virus caused significant delays in many of the steps during the process.
He added that “COVID-19 made certain routine activities of the IGB – such as interviews with applicants and key individuals, site visits, fingerprint analysis, and obtaining official tax documents and other records from state, local and federal agencies, difficult and sometimes impossible. “
The City of Danville submitted its application on November 23. Haven Gaming LLC’s First Offering It was rejected as the gaming table announced that it was incomplete.
The next offering came from a reconfigured entity called Danville Development LLC. The idea of the company is to establish a casino on the site of an old warehouse. The project will be led by Wilmorite Construction, based in Rochester NY. The plan is for the future casino to become the largest complex on Jones Road.
Wilmorite Vice President of Game Development James Wilmot expressed his excitement about having the opportunity to build the casino. He added: “We are hopeful that in the spring we will have more feedback and possibly a license so we can get going.”
According to Mr. Wilmot, the construction should start two months after the license is approved and the construction process should take nine months.
Mr. Wilmot states that he is not concerned about the pandemic affecting the casino industry. He is adding 10,000 square feet to the original plan to make sure all the rules implicit in the current coronavirus pandemic are followed.
According to the designs of the future casino, it will include 500 slot machines, 10 tables, a steakhouse restaurant, a food court and more than 700 parking spaces. According to Wilmorite, the company’s expected annual revenue will be approximately $ 66 million with approximately $ 6.2 million going to the city budget.
The city of Danville already scored a major victory last year when it signed an agreement with Caesars Entertainment INC to be the city’s preferred casino operator. Mayor Williams shared his belief that the new location will bring many attractive things that other locations do not offer.
Source: “Despite delays, Danville officials still have hope at the casino,” The News Gazette, January 10, 2021