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Empress Casino May Reopen In June

The fire-damaged Empress Casino in Joliet, Illinois, could reopen sometime this June, but it may be a year or more before a charred casino pavilion is rebuilt. A March 20 blaze destroyed the Egyptian-themed structure. Fire officials estimate the Empress sustained about 0 million in damage in the fire, which may have been sparked by a welder working on a kitchen duct system. The fire was contained to the pavilion area, which was undergoing a million renovation. No one was injured. Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas told the Chicago Tribune that the city expects to lose about .5 million in gaming revenue during the casino’s closing. Based on 2008 figures, the casino could be losing more than a half million dollars daily. Penn National Gaming Inc., owner of the Empress, agreed to extend full pay and benefits to all 850 employees for 90 days.

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