Danville Casino Referendum Will Go Before Local Virginia Voters in November

Posted on: August 9, 2020, 12:03h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2020, 01:07h.

A judge in Danville, Va., issued an order that will place a ballot referendum before local voters in November asking them whether they approve of authorizing a commercial casino resort in their city.

Danville casino Virginia Horseshoe
Voters in Danville, Virginia, will choose a US president in November, as well as the fate of Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe casino pitch for the city. (Image: Caesars Entertainment)

Danville Circuit Court Judge Joseph Milam issued the order last week. It’s the final step in successfully placing the question before voters during the November 3 election.

Local Danville voters will be asked:

Shall casino gaming be permitted at a casino gaming establishment in the City of Danville, Virginia, at 1100 West Main Street, Danville, Virginia 24541 (former Dan River Mills Schoolfield Division Site) as approved by the Virginia Lottery Board?”

Earlier this week, the Danville City Council voted in favor of the court issuing the referendum order. Should a simple majority of city voters back the question, the project will be fully authorized to move forward.

Regional Casino Boom

Danville was one of five Virginia cities allowed to consider legalizing commercial gambling under a state law signed in April by Gov. Ralph Northam (D). The casino initiative was designed to assist economically distressed towns that met a host of qualifying criteria.

Along with Danville, Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Bristol were earmarked for casinos. Danville officials selected a proposal from Caesars Entertainment in June. The city received seven bids.

Caesars says, if permitted, it will build a $400 million casino resort at the former Dan River Mills industrial complex, and will likely use its Horseshoe brand for the regional gaming venue. The 85-acre site is presently occupied by more than a dozen vacant buildings that are in disrepair.

Caesars’ plans call for a casino floor with 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, poker room, and sportsbook. The resort would come with a 500-room hotel, 35,000 square feet of conference space, 2,500-seat theater, and numerous restaurants and bars.

The casino operator, which recently completed its $17.3 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts, says the Danville project would result in 1,300 jobs, with annual average wages ranging between $35,000 and $47,000.

More Ballots Coming?

The Virginia Lottery, which must also approve of each of the potential five casinos, issued preliminary approval last month for the Caesars scheme in Danville. It additionally provided support for casino developments in Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

Norfolk has partnered with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and billionaire Jon Yarbrough of Video Gaming Technologies fame for a $200 million casino resort.

Bristol officials have long been tied with Virginia businessmen Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacey, who led the campaign to legalize commercial gambling in the Commonwealth. Hard Rock has been identified as the casino operator for what’s to be known as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, a $400 million integrated resort.

Portsmouth named Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming its preferred casino developer and partner in May. The scope of that project hasn’t been revealed.

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is also bidding to build the Richmond casino. The Native American group closed on 12.4 acres of land in the Manchester district of the capital city this past week.