On Wednesday, Danville, Illinois Mayor Scott Eisenhauer reportedly told an Illinois Senate committee that a conservative estimate indicates that along with 800 permanent jobs, a casino in Danville would bring the city’s coffers between $5 million and $7 million and $30 million in annual wages, as reported by The News-Gazette.
Next month, state legislators in Illinois are reportedly due to begin deliberations on a bill for expanded gambling in the state that could see the border cities of Danville and Rockford granted casino licenses while allowing horse racing tracks to operate slots.
At Wednesday’s Senate Gaming Committee hearing in Springfield, Eisenhauer reportedly said that a Danville casino would mean economic development for the city. He told gaming committee members, “We have our unemployment rate as well as our poverty levels which exceed the state average,” and, “I stand before you today seeking your support on this economic development bill. Let’s make no mistake: That’s exactly what this is,” according to the news agency.
The mayor reportedly said that even after factoring in revised estimates, a Danville casino would result in the creation of 600 construction jobs, which would pay between $8million and $10 million worth of wages. Eisenhauer said, “As an economic development bill, this bill for the city of Danville would be an investment of over $250 million. It would provide permanent as well as temporary jobs in excess of 1,000, and it would give our citizens an opportunity to seek greater employment opportunities,” according to the news agency. At the hearing, Eisenhauer also reportedly reiterated his longtime argument that a casino in Danville would see the majority of its business, which he projected at 65 percent, from neighboring Indiana. He noted that there has been mention of possibly building a casino in Terre Haute if Illinois doesn’t move forward.
Calling the bill “a massive expansion of gambling,” executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, Anita Bedell, said that the legislation would lead to an increase in social and criminal problems in the state. Meanwhile, Illinois Casino Gaming Association Director Tom Swoik, said the state gambling opportunities already saturate the state and include 25,000 video-gambling machines. He reportedly said that gambling expansion has already happened in the state where in the last 10 years revenue from gambling has dropped 44 percent. Swoik said, “We have more than double the number of licensed gaming venues in Illinois than there are in Las Vegas,” as reported by the news agency.