Officials in Danville, Va., Already Banking on Caesars Casino Revenue

Posted on: March 19, 2021, 10:22h. 

Last updated on: March 19, 2021, 11:17h.

Danville is one of four cities in Virginia that has been cleared to move forward with a casino resort. Local officials there are already banking on the development’s tax generation.

Danville casino resort Virginia Caesars
Danville City Manager Ken Larking speaks last year at the site where Caesars Entertainment will build a $400 million casino in the Virginia city. Larking says the gaming venue will help lead Danville into better economic days. (Image: Martinsville Bulletin)

Caesars is expected to use its Horseshoe brand in Danville. The Nevada-based gaming company is planning to invest $400 million to transform the former site of a textile mill in the city’s Schoolfield neighborhood into a casino resort. The destination is forecast to generate $22 million annually in gaming taxes for the city. The property is additionally expected to deliver Danville more than $4 million each year from property, meals, and hotel occupancy taxes. 

Though Horseshoe Danville isn’t likely to open until 2023, city officials released its proposed the fiscal year 2022 budget this week. That budget includes various spending, but without the need to increase taxes on residents. 

Most years, you’re at a choice: do you either cut services or raise rates? Neither one is popular,” said Danville City Manager Ken Larking. “We know we’re going to have new tax revenue coming in. 

“It gives us a lot of ability to catch up on some of the things we have not been able to do,” Larking added.

Casino Funding City Improvements

Larking’s budget draft calls for a $4.4 million allocation for Danville Public Schools. The money is for the school system to help pay down capital expenses, which recently included a new roof, HVAC equipment, and other building repairs. The funds are to be used to replace the track at George Washington High School. 

The $4.4 million is in addition to the $22.8 million provided for the school district’s annual operations. According to US News & World Report’s “2020 Best High Schools,” George Washington High ranked No. 300 out of 332 high schools in Virginia.

Along with education, Larking’s budget prioritizes public safety and economic development. He says the immediate increases in such funding will be offset by later casino tax income. 

We feel like this is the most sound financial strategy to accomplish the most we can for our community and begin the process of transforming the economy,” Larking explained.

The proposed budget will face several public hearings before the Danville City Council votes on the financial outline. The budget must be adopted no later than June 30.

Along with its gaming and business revenues that will be taxed and shared with Danville, Caesars has already paid $15 million to the city to help build infrastructure around the casino location.

More Than Taxes

Horseshoe Danville’s economic benefits do not stop with its associated tax revenue. Caesars says construction will lead to 900 jobs, and the casino’s ongoing operations will result in 1,300 permanent positions. 

Average wage and benefits packages for full-time employees will range between $50,000 to $55,000. The US Census Bureau says in 2019, per capita income in Danville was $22,826. 

A startling 23.5 percent of the Danville population was living in poverty that year — far higher than the 10.5 percent national average.