Danville, Ill. Officials Receive Three Applications for Proposed Casino, Expect to Make Recommendation Soon

Posted on: August 22, 2019, 10:52h. 

Last updated on: August 23, 2019, 11:38h.

Leaders in Danville, Ill., now have three proposals to consider for the casino that will be built in the city.

Rickey Williams Jr., mayor of Danville, Ill., said he expects a steering committee to make a recommendation for a casino developer to the city council by early next month. Danville received three proposals for the casino, which it received in an expanded gaming bill that passed the Illinois legislature earlier this year. (Image: FoxIllinois.com)

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. told Casino.org Thursday that three developers responded to the Illinois city’s solicitation request by the midnight Wednesday deadline. Now, a steering committee will review the responses and provide a recommendation to the Danville City Council on which application to support.

“It may be delayed, but we anticipate making a recommendation at the Sept. 3 council meeting,” the mayor said.

Williams declined to identify who submitted proposals.

Danville, located near the Indiana border in the central part of Illinois, is one of six locations selected for a casino in an expanded gaming bill that passed the state legislature earlier this year.

The state will ultimately decide on who gets the license. But the developers must submit a letter of support from the city in their application. While the law allows the city to submit up to three letters, Williams said the city plans on recommending only one proposal.

Tight Timeframe Ahead

The recommendation to the City Council will likely come quickly because of the tight time frame the state has set for the application review process. All information must be submitted to the state by Oct. 28, Williams said. That includes work the city must do in approving the proposal.

“The application that the operating partner will submit requires a statement saying that they have negotiated with the city in good faith,” he said. “It requires us to pass a resolution after the location (has been determined). There are some zoning requirements and such. And zoning alone, for we anticipate that’ll take us about six weeks.

“We’ve got the short window to keep everything moving in the right direction.”

As far as locations go, city leaders anticipate the casino being built near Interstate 74. They also expect the casino will pull in patrons from within a 120-mile radius. That would include the Indianapolis, Ind. area, as well as the Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, and Springfield markets in central Illinois.

Casino to Offer Several Benefits

A lifelong resident, Williams was appointed mayor last year after serving on the council for 10 years. In April, Williams, the city’s first African-American mayor, won the election for a four-year term.

The city of about 33,000 people was once a strong manufacturing town that saw its industrial employers hit hard by NAFTA. However, the mayor said Danville has enjoyed a renaissance of late, as the town’s unemployment rate recently reached a 30-year low, thanks to the community’s efforts to diversify its employer base.

Williams anticipates the casino to add between 400 to 600 full-time jobs to the Danville economy, plus scores of part-time positions. That will help the community become more economically resilient.

But the casino will offer other benefits as well, he said.

We are in need of additional restaurants and entertainment options,” he said. “So, we feel like the casino can provide those things that would also then help make us a destination spot.”

The casino is also expected to provide between $6 million and $7 million in tax revenue for the Illinois city, Williams added. The casino will offer class III gaming, which includes table games and sports betting.

Once the state gives the go-ahead, Williams anticipates a groundbreaking sometime next year, with construction completed potentially by the end of 2021.