DANVILLE, Ill. – Residents cheered Tuesday as Danville city officials wearing hard hats shoveled dirt on a patch of land in an industrial park off of Interstate 74.
By next spring, that land is expected to be the home of Danville’s Golden Nugget Casino.
Former State Representative Lou Lang, who advised Danville officials on the casino project, said at the groundbreaking event that the developers weren’t just interested in the business, but in a community they believe is due for an economic revival.
“They want to be part of this economic revival, not just to build a business, but to build a partnership and build a future here,” Lang said.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Golden Nugget Casino is the fifth casino to be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a 2019 bill that expanded gambling in Illinois.
Danville, once a town of booming industry, suffered a dwindling economy after factories like Heatcraft and General Motors closed decades ago.
Developers, led by New York-based Wilmot Gaming, said the project includes a steakhouse and more than 500 slot machines.
Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said the casino will bring much-needed economic development to the city.
“Long story short, this is history in the making,” Williams said at the event. “It’s going to be a game-changer for all of us here in Danville and in Vermilion County.”
The casino is expected to bring around 300 full-time jobs to the community and pump millions of dollars annually into the Danville economy and into city government in the form of tax revenue, Williams said.
Officials said the casino will be open by March of next year.
Farrah Anderson is a student journalist with Illinois Public Media’s student newsroom. Follow her on Twitter @farrahsoa