Danville casino application

Haven Gaming LLC attorney Scott Sypolt, left, hands the company's casino-license application to an Illinois Gaming Board official Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, at the board's headquarters in Chicago

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DANVILLE — Haven Gaming officials submitted its application for a license to operate a casino in Danville to the Illinois Gaming Board shortly after 4 p.m. Monday, the state-imposed deadline for such applications.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Haven Gaming attorney Scott Sypolt said shortly after submitting the enormous amount of information required by the gaming board at 4:07 p.m. Monday.

He was joined by CEO Bill Bembenek in submitting the paperwork that was “as thick as a New York phone book,” Sypolt said.

Although Haven Gaming already had much of the necessary information together, Sypolt said the last five days had been hectic in getting the last pieces needed to complete the application, which was submitted electronically.

He said several other cities also turned in applications for licenses on Monday, the deadline set in gambling-expansion legislation that was passed in May, with some of them submitting after Haven Gaming did.

It completes a major step in the quest for a Danville casino that local and state officials have pushed for over the last few decades.

Sypolt said Haven Gaming is thrilled to be able to do it for Danville.

“The people of Danville deserve this so much,” he said, mentioning jobs, other opportunities for development, shared revenue and money Haven has pledged to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club. “This will do so many great things for Danville.”

According to the new company’s agreement with the city, it will send $1 million upfront to the city for riverfront development, another $1 million for municipal improvements and another $1 million for expansion of the Boys and Girls Club.

The agreement also commits Haven Gaming to sharing 4 percent of the casino’s annual revenue with Danville.

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Haven Gaming has proposed a $232.4 million plan to build a casino resort along Interstate 74 on the southeastern outskirts of Danville that would include a hotel, restaurants, bars, entertainment venue and more.

It’s unknown how long the gaming board will take to review the application and issue a license to Danville, one of six new licenses created by the gambling-expansion legislation.

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

Sypolt, who lives in Chicago and plans to move to Danville along with Bembenek, said it’s going to be a very exciting project.

“So we’re thrilled to become a part of the Danville team,” said Sypolt, who also mentioned looking forward to working with Danville Area Community College officials and the entire community on this project. “We’re off to the races.”

Reporter

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