Haven Gaming LLC is planning to build a high-end casino resort in Danville. It recently disclosed that the project will cost $230 million and will feature 40 table games and 1,800 slot machines.
The announcement comes when Illinois' gaming revenue from its ten casinos is declining. But observers claim that the investment might cost the gaming operator $250 million as its proposed figure is conservative.
Danville's gaming officials are enthusiastic about the casino resort project. They claim that it will earn the city $21.7 million in gaming revenue each year.
Indiana is expected to launch sports gambling on October 3 hence making Illinois to be surrounded by states that have legalized gambling. In the past, Nevada was the only state in the region with vibrant gambling industry.
Haven Gaming plans to develop a Las Vegas-style resort that will have a hotel, many restaurants, a convention center, a spa, live entertainment space, sports gambling, and table games.
The Project Has a Unique Business Model
The casino operator won't use an ordinary casino resort business model. Bill Bembenek, Haven Gaming CEO, stated that players need a better gaming experience than what other operators are offering now. Thus, they have to create a distinct paradigm that will allow their clients to feel at ease and enjoy various amenities.
Bembenek stated that the United States' gaming industry has rapidly evolved over the years as players want a unique experience. Scotty Sypolt, Haven Gaming's attorney, backed the CEO and elaborated on the company's plans. He stated that the Midwest region lacked an elite casino resort.
Haven's competitors like Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures have attempted to develop a casino resort in Danville, but they haven't succeeded. Its project is an hour's drive from the city center and is an ideal site for different businesses. Also, it has a solid local market as the city has 2.4 million inhabitants.
John Kindt Claims That Gambling Is "Crack Cocaine"
Some people aren't happy about Haven Gaming's project plans. John Kindt, a user interface professor, likened betting to crack cocaine, especially among the youth who often visit casino floors in large numbers. He stated that young adults are likely to shift to online and mobile betting as they seek new gambling options.
Kindt explained the casino industry's transformation in the 1990s when most gaming operators avoided populated regions. But slot machines are close to learning institutions today. The professor cautioned that 10 percent of youth are struggling with problem gambling.
He stated that this is contrary to what colleges and universities teach students. Some of them study and apply for jobs hoping to amass wealth fast as they believe that they are bulletproof.
The casino operator's plan is partly facing objections since betting is widespread in the region as it has 300-odd venues with various forms of betting. Even though Illinois is witnessing a decrease in its gaming revenue, the demand for various casino games is on the rise.
The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability released a report in 2019 showing that Illinois was fourth in the country in gross gaming revenue (GGR). It earned $1.34 billion while Indiana generated $2.11 billion, Iowa had $1.45 billion, and Missouri earned $1.73 billion.