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Pritzker Administration Celebrates Groundbreaking for New Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino 

CARTERVILLE — Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday joined elected officials, stakeholders, and labor leaders to break ground on the new Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino. Made possible after the Illinois Gaming Board’s June 9, 2021 determination that Walker’s Bluff is preliminarily suitable for licensure, the new resort is slated to include a 116-room hotel along with a gaming floor, event center, and multiple restaurants, among other attractions.

Since 2008, Walker’s Bluff has served as an entertainment and tourist destination for Southern Illinois, offering jobs and opportunities to hundreds of local residents and bringing thousands of visitors face to face with Southern Illinois’ natural beauty. Thanks to the gaming bill that Governor Pritzker signed during his first year in office, the Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino will open the door to even more economic development.

“Between construction and the casino, we’re talking about more than a thousand much-needed jobs, millions of dollars in annual tax revenue, and yet another fun thing to do in Southern Illinois – what a great day for Walker’s Bluff and all of Southern Illinois,” said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

“I am excited to see the continued forward momentum and progress in the Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino project,” said Carterville Mayor Bradley M. Robinson. “With the initial addition of jobs in the trades and construction and the long-term jobs in the operations and management of the Resort, the future looks very bright for Carterville and all of Southern Illinois.”

“A development of this size in Southern Illinois will certainly have a positive impact on surrounding communities and foster further economic development,” said Carbondale Mayor John “Mike” Henry. “I appreciate Cynde and David Bunch’s contributions to the region and am very glad to see this significant project move a step closer to completion.”

“I am proud to see this bi-partisan initiative come to life,” said State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “This year, I filed legislation that has since been signed into law by the Governor, to guarantee this multi-million dollar project be built by the laborers of southern Illinois. Today’s ground breaking ceremony is a sign for hundreds of new jobs to come and will put a much-needed investment back into our local economy.”

The ground breaking for the Walker’s Bluff Resort and Casino is a huge step forward for the economic development of Jackson and Williamson Counties. I am very appreciative of the investments made by the ownership of Walker’s Bluff and the support the Governor has shown during the process so far,” said Jackson County Board Chairman Keith Larkin. “This project will create jobs and help make the region a destination location.”  

“Gov. Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois will create millions of union construction hours that will pay prevailing wages with health and retirement benefits allowing workers to make it into the middle class for the first time in their lives,” said Jerry Womick, Business Manager Laborers’ Local 773. “Earlier this year, organized labor worked with the General Assembly in Springfield, to pass legislation that mandates Project Labor Agreements for all new casinos in the state ensuring that the workers on casino projects like Walkers Bluff are paid living wages, full family healthcare and retirement benefits.”

“This is an exciting time for Williamson County and the whole region. We are seeing local labor working to build the Resort at Walkers Bluff.  The resort will also bring hundreds of full-time jobs. Cynde Bunch has pushed her vision for years and it’s now a reality. Congratulations to all,” said Brent Gentry, Williamson County Commissioner.

“This undertaking at Walker’s Bluff, is a tremendous opportunity. Not just for Williamson County, but for the entire region of Southern Illinois as well,” said Jim Marlo, Williamson County Commissioner.

With the expansion of gaming, the industry is now poised to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in new state revenues, funding critical vertical infrastructure projects in communities across the state.