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MARION, Ill. — Local officials have advanced a plan for a resort and casino on the site of a Southern Illinois winery.

The Southern Illinoisan reports the Williamson County board on Friday approved the $180 million expansion for Walker's Bluff winery near Carterville.

Construction will begin on the first phase of the project once it receives final approval from the Illinois Gaming Board, which could take up to a year.

Owners Cynde and David Bunch have worked for years to create a destination resort on the family's land about 105 miles (169 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation earlier this year to expand gambling in Illinois. It included a casino license for the Walker's Bluff project, which Pritzker says will boost economic development in Southern Illinois.

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