Sixth in US for Fertitta's brand

Golden Nugget Casino Danville breaks ground in Illinois with plans to open by March 2023

Groundbreaking for Golden Nugget Casino Danville on Tuesday in Illinois.
Reading time 2:50 min

Ground has been broken on the upcoming Golden Nugget Casino in Danville, Illinois, the sixth Golden Nugget casino in the United States. The ceremony was attended by company officials and local authorities, including Danville Mayor Rickey Williams, Jr, who stood in the center at 204 Eastgate Drive as ground-breakers officially began construction of the property.

The event was also attended by former State Rep Lou Lang, who spoke on behalf of Golden Nugget, Wilmorite Management, and Danville Development; Tom Wilmot, Jr from Wilmorite; and Fertitta Entertainment COO Gaming, Gerry Del Prete, reports Vermilion County First. Nearby, destruction and clean-up of a building being torn down to make room for the casino were underway.

“I’m very happy to say that we are incredibly busy with positive movement versus negative movement,” said Mayor Williams, according to the cited source. “And so that’s great; we’re going to continue to grow and develop, and I just look forward to all of the folks who are going to come to Danville, and those who are here in Danville and Vermilion County, who are going to make investments to make this the best possible place to live, work, invest, and play.”

Danville Mayor Rickey Williams, Jr

Pitching and working to finally get to groundbreaking took over 30 years, according to Danville leaders. But officials are sure it will all pay off, and expect it to work as an economic engine for the region, as well as bring new, good-paying jobs. The plan is for the casino to open in March of 2023, with other businesses to follow.

"This is going to change everything, this is going to be the focus, it will be an economic engine spurs small business and make this place a destination for people throughout the Midwest," said Rep Mike Marron, R-Danville, according to Fox Illinois.

According to Vermilion Advantage President Tim Dudley, the property will bring “about 300 jobs right off the bat,” and then eventually around 600 positions once it gets through phases two and three. But additionally, the project is set to bring people in from out of state, and he further expressed confidence it will lead to other businesses coming around, such as restaurants.

"It comes in and gives more money to the Danville schools and Vermilion County schools altogether, as well as the local police force and other government groups, I think it will be the missing piece," said Senator Scott Bennett, D-Danville. Officials expect the casino may reverse trends that point out to a decrease in population for the last five decades, including an 11% drop off from 2010 to 2020.

The project faced a series of challenges throughout its planning phase. An initial site chosen for the casino was afterward discarded after Mayor Williams said the land was overpriced, which led to the new site on Eastgate Drive. Additionally, the pandemic delayed the whole process, taking around a year and a half for the Illinois Gaming Board to approve the proposal.

New York-based Wilmorite Construction is the developer for the Danville casino, which will feature a  41,500 square foot gaming floor with 500 slot machines and 14 table games. It will also feature a steakhouse and a sports bar with wagering options, plus 650 surface parking spaces, according to earlier reports. The casino will also provide iGaming and online sports betting through Golden Nugget Online’s proprietary platform, and is expected to bring in $5-7 million dollars in revenue per year.

Earlier this month, Yogonet reported that billionaire businessman Tilman Fertitta is purchasing the Wildwood Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado, for $43 million. The deal, expected to finalize by summer, is being carried out through the mogul’s Fertitta Entertainment company and will see the introduction of the iconic Golden Nugget brand to the state.

Fertitta Entertainment, owner of Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada and three other states, first signed the agreement to acquire the property in November. The deal was announced in December, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, at a point in which Fertitta was considering taking his company public, a plan that was ultimately dropped.

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