Williamson County Board ok's Walker's Bluff expansion proposal - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Williamson County Board ok's Walker's Bluff expansion proposal

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MARION (WSIL) -- The Williamson County Board gave staff at Walker's Bluff in Carterville the green light Friday to submit their renovation plans to the Illinois Gaming Board.

The business's upcoming construction is a part of the state's gambling expansion. Staff presented blueprints for a future casino, event center, and potential indoor and outdoor water parks.

Development is projected to cost $180 million. By the casino's third year in business, staff predicts a $63 million stream of revenue.

Staff told the county board they expect employees to come from in and out of southern Illinois. The project would create just over 1,000 construction jobs and 330 employees.

"Today was literally designed for them to fulfill the packet that they need to send to the gaming commission; so that they can send the approval on to the legislators, and governor to rubber stamp this and get it going," said Ron Ellis, Chairman of the Williamson County Board.

Walker's Bluff will send the approved county resolution and paperwork to the Illinois Gaming Board. The deadline to submit their proposal is next week.

The board will make a recommendation to the governor and Illinois General Assembly to approve the construction of the casino.

Walker's Bluff staff declined to comment further on development during Friday's board meeting.

The Gambling Expansion in Other Cities

Rockford

The City of Rockford approved the construction of a Hard Rock Casino in their city.

Our sister station WREX reported that Rockford aldermen said the Hard Rock is in the best interest in the city and state. Construction will cost more than $300 million. The casino will employ 2,000 people.

Chicago

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed two ideas for a casino in the city.

She said the city and state could own the casino or a private business could step in. Lightfoot said either option would require the state legislature to approve taxes below those written into expanded gambling legislation enacted earlier this year.

A third of tax revenue generated by a proposed casino would go to Chicago Police and Fire pensions.

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