Danville casino plans1

This illustration shows the initial concept of a planned casino resort along Interstate 74 at the Lynch Road exit southeast of Danville, including a casino, a hotel, an entertainment venue, a conference center and more.

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DANVILLE — As soon as the Illinois Gaming Board issues a license to Haven Gaming LLC for a Danville casino, the corporation will hand over $3 million to city officials and the local Boys and Girls Club, according to an agreement that awaits aldermen's approval tonight.

The tentative agreement, which Haven officials have already signed off on, is the next major step in a $232.4 million development plan to build and launch a casino resort along Interstate 74 on the southeastern outskirts of Danville.

Following a required public hearing on the casino development proposal at tonight’s council meeting, aldermen will vote on the agreement between the city and Haven, the group already recommended for the job.

The council will also vote on a zoning ordinance that designates the 42-acre site, currently farmland adjacent to I-74, as a gaming entertainment district with all the applicable zoning stipulations.

If aldermen approve the agreement and zoning ordinance, the next step will be for Haven Gaming to get its casino-license application to the state gaming board by the Oct. 28 deadline.

It’s a guessing game on how long the board will take to review the application, then issue a license for Danville, one of six new licenses created by the passage of gambling-expansion legislation earlier this year.

According to the Haven agreement with the city, $1 million of the up-front money will go to the city for riverfront development, $1 million will go toward municipal improvements and another $1 million will be used to expand the Boys and Girls Club.

The agreement also commits Haven Gaming to sharing some of the casino’s annual revenue stream with Danville — specifically “variable annual payments of 4 percent of Earnings before Interest, Depreciation and Amortization minus any and all taxes and government fees.”

Haven officials have estimated first-year gross revenue of $150.3 million and that a fully functioning casino resort with 2,000 slots, 24 table games and sports betting could generate earnings of $68.8 million in 2021. Four percent of that would be $2.75 million.

Haven Gaming has also agreed to forego the local portion of enterprise zone benefits available.

Vermilion Advantage President Vicki Haugen said the local portion of benefits Haven will forego include a property-tax abatement and 50 percent break on building-permit fees.

But there are still state enterprise zone incentives available to Haven, including retail-sales-tax credits on any building materials bought in Illinois, a 0.5 percent investment tax credit on the state income-tax return, and an exemption from the state’s 0.5 percent utility tax once a certain number of jobs have been created and investment made.

Haugen said Danville’s enterprise zone is active through December 2031.


Tracy Crane is a Danville-based reporter for The News-Gazette. Her email is tcrane@news-gazette.com.