DANVILLE – The deadline has passed for proposals to be submitted to operate a Danville casino.

An initial report on the proposals won’t come until the Aug. 6 Danville City Council meeting.

Tuesday night, Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said no one had yet submitted a proposal through the Solicitation of Interest put out a couple of weeks ago by the local steering committee that is overseeing the casino’s development.

Williams said that wasn’t unexpected, however, due to often last-minute preparations for complex requests for proposals. He said committee members will begin reviewing the proposals next week and decide with whom they want to meet face-to-face.

Vermilion Development’s Dave Cocagne also commented through an email “I have conferred with the mayor and others involved in the process. The mayor will provide an update to the city council at next week’s council meeting on the responses that have been received and other details. That will serve as the next update on the process.”

Earlier this month Williams told aldermen seven potential entities had expressed interest in operating a Danville casino.

The steering committee sent out a request for proposals, which the committee is calling a Solicitation of Interest, to about 50 corporations throughout the country. The responses, including full plans and applications, were due July 31.

Cocagne also previously reported they’d received feedback from a number of groups, and based on that he believes there’s “significant interest in the Danville casino license.”

The casino steering committee who chose the casino's Southgate location, south of Interstate 74 at the Lynch Road exit, and who will review the proposals consists of: Williams, Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen, Vermilion Advantage Director of Business Development Tinisha Shade-Spain, Danville Acting Police Chief Chris Yates, attorney and former City of Danville Corporation Counsel Dave Wesner, Danville Metal Stamping Executive Vice President Gardner Peck, Venture Mechanical Contractors Vice President Jerry Connolly and Ward 5 Alderman Mike Puhr.

The steering committee selected a 42-acre site in the Southgate Industrial Park for the casino. The site is adjacent to another 30-acre parcel for additional development. Both are owned by Lou Mervis heirs.

A preliminary concept sketch at Lynch and I-74 at Southgate shows additional development of a hotel, events center/music venue, water park/adventure park, outlet retail, trails and extension of Southgate Habitat trail and alternate lodging/”glamping” area.

At least one casino proposal has reportedly suggested the casino be developed downtown, which Downtown Danville Inc. Board President Amy McKinley and others support.

Williams and Haugen have said there’s not enough acreage and space for a casino downtown. Williams also has said the casino site would only change if an entity submitted an alternative site plan and how it'd accomplish putting the casino there.

Site criteria was: minimum of 20-25 acres, immediate access to and visibility from I-74, utility capacity and availability, ease of site availability/site control and compatibility with context and adjacent uses. Preferences were: access to hotel rooms and other amenities, and adjacent land available for ancillary development.

Next in the proposed timeline for the casino: selection of operating partner by Aug. 14, solidify community benefits/determine land use approval process by Sept. 2, community presentation in September, preparation of application/market study and entitlement process/zoning approval process from September through October, approval of zoning around Oct. 15 and submit application Oct. 21 before the Oct 28 state deadline.

The Illinois Gaming Board then has up to a year to review applications and conduct background checks on all involved parties before issuing the Danville and other casino licenses.

Estimates show up to 400 construction jobs to build the Danville casino and possibly 700 to 800 permanent jobs to operate it. The casino could bring in around $6 million in annual revenue.

The casino could have up to 2,000 positions, meaning slot machines or seats at gaming tables. Local officials believe a developer could build a smaller casino and not pay as much in gaming position fees. There is a $1,750 one-time fee for every gaming position, in addition to the $250,000 application fee.

The casino also can have a temporary location prior to its permanent construction being completed.

Casino Solicitation of Interest Evaluation Criteria


• Analysis of the market

• Estimated balance sheet for the project

• Approach to capitalization and source of equity capital

• Preliminary operating pro forma

• Willingness to forego local enterprise zone benefits

• Suggested approach for paying predevelopment costs and application fee


• Approach to community benefits

• Approach to incorporating local investors and community input

• Approach to including Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)/Women Business Enterprise (WBE)/Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE) investors

• Number of Jobs Created

Design & Operation

• Partner’s interest, approach and related experience

• Preliminary program of the casino

• Approach to operating a temporary casino

• Experience working with building trades and project labor agreements

Security & Regulation

• Regulatory and compliance history

• Record of Compliance

• Safety & Security