Danville Development LLC, which is in charge of the city’s Golden Nugget casino bid, received good news at Thursday’s Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) meeting.
The IGB found Danville Development ‘preliminarily suitable’ for a casino license, the last step before final approval. It looks as though Danville is well on its way to getting its long-anticipated casino.
There have been some hiccups in Danville’s process. Haven Gaming originally submitted the city’s casino application, but the IGB rejected it.
Danville Development and Golden Nugget then struck a deal to take over the casino bid. A little over a year later, the IGB has found the group preliminarily suitable.
Danville casino features
Danville is along the east-central border of Illinois. It is very close to Indiana.
The casino would feature a 41,500-square-foot gaming floor with 500 slot machines, 14 table games and two restaurants. It would also include a Saltgrass Steakhouse and a sportsbook.
As far as the timetable is considered, Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. recently said:
“What that would mean for Danville is within 45 to 60 days, you would likely be having a groundbreaking. So we could be meeting as soon as April, the end of April to do that. And from there, we would likely have a casino open the early part of 2023.”
Williams also said the casino will create 300 well-paying, full-time jobs. There will not be a temporary casino.
Golden Nugget has expressed interest in eventually joining the Illinois online sports betting market. However, DraftKings now owns Golden Nugget Online Gaming, so it remains to be seen how that could affect a future Illinois launch.
Big progress with new Illinois casinos
It certainly took a while for the new Illinois casino license applicants to get answers. But now, five applicants have at least been found suitable, and a few have received final approval.
All of these regions have an applicant that has received final approval or suitability:
- South suburbs
- Williamson County
That just leaves Chicago, and there is progress on that front too. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said that her administration hopes to choose a winning bidder this spring.
That winner will then have to submit its proposal to the IGB. As expected, Chicago’s process is taking the longest.
Terre Haute casino takes key step
There are plans for a new casino in Terre Haute, Indiana. And for a while, there was concern that a Terre Haute casino would beat Danville to market.
Terra Haute and Danville are about an hour’s drive apart.
Churchill Downs is in charge of the bid, and it recently received approval to change its proposed casino location. Groundbreaking is expected to happen in May, and Churchill Downs hopes to be ready to open by late 2023.
Williams appears to think a Danville casino can be constructed more quickly, which could be big in winning over potential customers. We will be tracking both casinos’ progress as their opening dates could have important future implications.