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Walker's Bluff Casino Resort team hits filing deadline for casino license

  • Cynde Bunch signs the casino license application.

    Cynde Bunch signs the casino license application.
    Courtesy of Emily Burke

  • Rendering of an aerial view of the Walker's Bluff Casino Resort.

    Rendering of an aerial view of the Walker's Bluff Casino Resort.
    Courtesy of Emily Burke/Walker's Bluff

  • Rendering of an eye level view of the Walker's Bluff Casino Resort.

    Rendering of an eye level view of the Walker's Bluff Casino Resort.
    Courtesy of Emily Burke/Walker's Bluff

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 10/30/2019 2:24 PM

WILLIAMSON COUNTY -- Cynde Bunch stepped up to a table in the gazebo at Walker's Bluff on Monday, and put her signature on the official application for an Illinois casino license.

That signature made it official that Walker's Bluff, working with Elite Casino Resorts of Iowa, has successfully filed the joint application. Attorney Terrance Dunleavy of O'Rourke & Moody LLP in Chicago completed the filing Monday afternoon.

No indication of a timeline for approval has been given, and the Illinois Gaming Board could take up to one year to grant approval.

But if officially granted, the license would allow Walker's Bluff Casino Resort LLC to build a casino destination resort at Walker's Bluff, land that has been in Bunch's family for nearly a century.

The application packet includes renderings and designs by experienced casino architect Mohammed Lawal and his team, LSE Architects of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the firm that designed Jumer's Casino in Moline.

The Williamson County Board gave its unanimous stamp of approval to the $180 million project earlier this month.

"We are proud of this project and all of the opportunities it represents. Hundreds, perhaps thousands will benefit from jobs, training and local contracts, but we will all benefit from the satisfaction that we never gave up on southern Illinois," said Bunch after signing the application.

After six year of work and countless trips to Springfield by Bunch and her team, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 690 in June, paving the way for Cynde and Dave Bunch to move forward with their vision to expand Walker's Bluff from a winery to a destination resort and casino.

Dan Kehl, CEO of Elite Casino Resorts LLC believes in this project.

"I believe our application is very strong and that it accurately demonstrates Elite's proven record of success in partnering with the community and making a positive impact," he said. "We are well positioned for long-term success in southern Illinois."

The project is expected to create an initial 1,010 construction jobs and employ at least 330 permanent jobs upon completion.

The annual tax revenue is projected at $4.2 million.