By Darren Cooper
Danville Development LLC will make a virtual presentation to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) on March 10 to build and operate a Golden Nugget Casino in Danville.
While the IGB hasn’t moved fast on applications in the past, it is expected that the board will confer a decision that day on the suitability presentation. The board can bestow a preliminary suitability finding which is the last step before final approval.
Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. 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.”
Plans for the casino at 204 Eastgate Drive include a 41,500 square foot gaming floor, 500 slots, 14 table games and a pair of restaurants. The casino would also hope to operate a live sportsbook through the Golden Nugget online platforms.
James A. Wilmot, president of Danville Development, said:
“Danville Development, LLC is well prepared for the hearing and excited for the opportunity to present the details of this project to the Illinois Gaming Board. There is tremendous anticipation for the Golden Nugget Danville Casino, and we are looking forward to delivering what we have promised to this community.”
A long process
The Illinois Gambling Act, passed in 2019, allowed for six new Illinois casinos to be built in Danville, Chicago, Rockford, Williams County, Waukegan and the south suburbs. However, the process has been painfully slow.
Haven Gaming originally submitted Danville’s casino application, but the IGB struck it down saying it did not comply with Illinois statutes. The bid was withdrawn in July of 2020.
Danville Development entered the scene quickly thereafter and struck a deal with the Golden Nugget in November of 2020. It has been waiting to make its presentation to the IGB.
“I’m really stoked,” Williams Jr. said. “It’s going to be 300 well-paying full-time jobs with many part-time and seasonal jobs and it’s going to provide awesome recreation activities for those who live here and visitors.”
The details on Danville
Danville is a city of approximately 30,000 and is the county seat of Vermilion County. It’s 90 miles west of Indianapolis and 137 miles south of Chicago.
Danville is best known for its connection to President Abraham Lincoln. He practiced law there for 18 years and there are multiple attractions in the city that bear his name.
Danville is also home to the Vermilion County Bobcats ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
For a while, Danville rushed to get its casino project approved to beat out neighboring Terre Haute in Indiana (they are just 55 miles apart) as Terra Haute was working on its own casino project. However, the Terre Haute casino project remains in limbo. In February, officials changed the project’s site to put it on the city’s east side.
Progress in Chicago?
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in November she was hopeful of having a list of casino candidates to the IGB in the first quarter of 2022. Multiple operators have submitted proposals to develop and operate a Chicago casino.