For years, the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia has discussed plans to open a casino. Recently, the tribe agreed to pay $10 million for a plot of land in Norfolk, where the proposed casino will be constructed. This week, several Virginia city officials raised their concerns over the plans to construct a new casino in Norfolk.
There are still several steps the Pamunkey Tribe needs to take before this casino will be approved. Today, we’re going to look at what we know about these casino plans so far. We’ll also look at why officials are hesitant to approve the plans.
Pamunkey Tribe Eager to Open Their First Casino
The Pamunkey Tribe is one of 11 Virginia Native American tribes. It’s the first federally-recognized tribe in the state. For years, heads of this tribe have pushed hard to open a casino venue. Unfortunately, Virginia has a restrictive set of gambling laws that bans full-scale casinos from operating.
Interestingly, the state does allow certain forms of casino-style games. Today, there are several gambling venues in Virginia that offer electronic slot-style games. These machines have grown extremely popular in the state and have generated major revenue.
Earlier this year, several Virginia lawmakers presented a new bill to significantly expand the state’s gambling operations. If approved, traditional casino games such as table games and slot machines will be fully legalized. It will be until 2021 until these plans are officially set into law.
That isn’t stopping the Pamunkey Tribe from working to have casino plans approved. Earlier this month, the tribe agreed to pay $10 million for a plot of waterfront land in Norfolk. The tribe has also presented plans to construct a massive $700 million casino-resort in this city.
Unfortunately, several city officials are raising their concerns with a new casino in Norfolk opening its doors.
Councilmembers Weigh Pros and Cons of New Casino in Norfolk
For many, the idea of a fully-operating casino in Norfolk is extremely exciting. It’s clear that a casino would help to generate revenue earnings for the city. Others worry about the impact it will have on emergency services, local businesses, and crime.
In an official city meeting on Monday, councilmember Andria McClellan raised several questions. She wants to know exactly how much the city will receive in tax revenue. She’s also pointing out the fact that no study has been conducted on exactly how much money a casino here will generate, and what the impact will be on city residents.
Several studies on these matters are being conducted, yet the results will not become available until after the council votes on whether or not to approve the tribe’s purchase of the land tonight. Councilman Tommy Smigiel states that the council is taking this decision very seriously. He’s taking public opinion into account.
Many Norfolk residents are unhappy with the decision to open a casino in the city. Civic League secretary Lorraine Connaughton believes the public simply doesn’t have enough information to make a decision.
“It really came across as people were skeptical … and that they were being railroaded on a deal that they quite frankly don’t have enough information on,” she said.
We’ll need to wait and see how the city council decides to approach the plans to construct a new casino in Norfolk.
Gambling Options Available in Virginia Right Now
As we mentioned earlier, Virginia has a set of restrictive laws towards the gambling industry. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to play your favorite casino games in this state. Today, there are several fantastic VA online casinos that are available to residents. Most of them offer a huge range of different gambling options.
Lawmakers in Virginia have not yet taken steps to regulate the online casino industry. Unlike several states such as Delaware and New Jersey, Virginia has set no direct laws on internet casino sites. Interestingly, more people in Virginia are choosing to play at US casino sites every month.
The state of Virginia appears very close to allowing traditional land-based casinos. Before long, lawmakers here may also choose to regulate internet casinos. States with state-regulated online casino platforms are earning millions of dollars a month by taxing these websites’ earnings.
Over the next few months, we’ll see whether or not the new casino in Norfolk will be approved. Perhaps in time, several brick and mortar casinos will begin opening around the state.
Make sure to stay tuned for more Virginia casino news!