Gambling Bill Approval Gets Southern Illinois a New $300m Casino Resort

  • Southern Illinois is getting a casino resort development that will cost around $300m
  • Plans received the go-ahead following a recent gambling expansion bill signed by Governor Pritzker
  • The resort will benefit the local community by an estimated $15m annually
  • Ground for the project will be broken in September with a target finish date set for January 2021
road sign marking the state of Illinois
Southern Illinois is getting a new $300m casino resort following the recent approval of a gambling expansion plan in the state.

Plans for the casino resort

Walker’s Bluff in Carterville, Southern Illinois will be getting a new casino resort, with ground to be broken for the start of the development process in September 2019. The resort was in the planning stage for some time, but nothing concrete could be done until the gambling expansion bill got approval from the Illinois legislature.

As a result of this bill, the Walker’s Bluff Winery is now able to apply for one of state casino licenses up for grabs. According to their estimates, this new project will help create an additional $15m in yearly revenue for the locality.

The winery owner, Cynde Bunch, has been trying to get a casino resort built for the last eight years. She was glad that the bill received approval in this legislature, saying: “I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know when.” She believes the region will benefit nicely from this new project.

The news was announced by Governor JB Pritzker, who was joined by local officials and business people. Among them was Aur Beck, a prominent businessperson in the region, who said he believes that Southern Illinois can be transformed by this new casino resort. Speaking about its potential, he praised those who helped push this measure through: “They’re visionaries, and they’ve been working very hard to create a vision, and people understand what they’re doing.”

Estimated project costs

The projections for the development cost of the casino resort appear to be in the region of $300m. The project will see 330 rooms built and hundreds of new jobs created. Governor Pritzker is confident that the new legislation will be a massive help to the state:

It’s one of the tools we’re using to fund our infrastructure plan, which is named Rebuild Illinois. Overall we are investing $45 billion over six years to repair what’s broken and build what’s needed.”

There will be no assistance from the state for the development project, which will be wholly funded through private investment. Once completed, the resort will comprise two hotels, one casino, and a number of restaurants, complete with an outdoor and indoor water park, a spa, and a convention center. The casino resort in Carterville is expected to open its doors in January 2021.

Illinois gambling expansion

It was on the final day of the legislative session in Illinois that Senate Bill 690 got approval. The bill regards numerous aspects of gaming such as legalizing sports betting, which includes online sports betting. Individuals will be required to register for their online accounts in person initially. Casinos, racetracks, and sporting arenas like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field will now be able to open sportsbooks.

There is also the allowance for a casino to be built in Chicago, as well as in five other locations in the state. Casino gaming will now be permitted to take place at racetracks, with slot machine areas to be installed at the Midway and O’Hare airports. The first sportsbooks are expected to open in time for the NFL season, which starts this September.

Through this gambling expansion, the state hopes to take in between $500m and $700m in the first year through licensing fees. Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law as part of a wide-ranging $45bn capital plan to improve the fortunes of Illinois.

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