group looking to put a Las Vegas-style casino resort in the Illinois city of Danville says it wants to build a family-oriented destination and promote economic growth in the area. The casino operator approved by the Danville City Council last week still has to obtain a state gaming license.
The Danville City Council voted 12-0 last Tuesday to approve Haven Gaming LLC as the operating partner for the as yet unnamed casino, which is to be developed with Danville Casino Acquisitions LLC.
Haven Gaming LLC presented its proposal at the City Council meeting, which will include a hotel, full-service spa, multiple restaurants, pool and lazy river, convention center, live entertainment venue, recreation facilities and shopping, 4,000 parking spaces and more.
"This is more than just the typical casino. It will be a resort complex. A destination. A place that people will be excited to come to, and more importantly, more excited to want to come back to," Bill Bembenek, a Haven Gaming official, said. "We've opened similar resorts like this across the country, and this is really the new evolution of what gaming really is. It's a multi-level experience."
Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Junior says that in addition to construction jobs, the casino is projected to create 400 to 600 permanent full-time jobs and an additional 400 or so part-time jobs. In addition, he says local governments will benefit from tax revenue from the casino, which will also provide the city with four percent of its annual earnings.
“The revenue, obviously will be incredible,” said Williams, as reported by Will Illinois Public Media. “It will help us eliminate our debt, our general debt, but also help us tackle the huge fire and police pensions, deficits that we have.”
The city of Danville’s deal with Haven Gaming also includes upfront gifts from the casino — followed by annual contributions — to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area, the Fischer Theatre, Danville’s police and fire divisions and scholarships for students at Danville Area Community College.
The Danville Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approving a planned unit development petition for the project from Danville Casino Acquisitions to create a gaming entertainment district for the new casino at its meeting last Thursday. The Danville City Council will act on the petition on Oct. 15. Another big step for the Danville casino project will come by October 28, the deadline for new casino programs to apply to the Illinois Gaming Board for gaming licenses.
It’s not clear how long it will take the Gaming Board to act on the applications. But Mayor Williams says once Haven Gaming gets a license, an initial temporary casino could be open in Danville in nine months. “So we are hoping and projecting that if things go well with the state board, which we believe they will, then by November, hopefully, of next year, we could be up and running,” said Williams.
Officials with Haven Gaming says the building for the temporary casino would actually be a permanent structure, which would in time be expanded into a larger casino, augmented by other businesses and attractions. The construction would take about three years to complete.