Danville Formally Names Caesars Preferred Casino Operator
During a virtual meeting, the City Council of the Virginia city of Danville unanimously passed a resolution that formally selected a subsidiary of the Las Vegas powerhouse as the city’s preferred casino operator.
Danville announced last month that it was in the middle of negotiations with Caesars to be named the preferred operator of the city’s potential casino.
Virginia lawmakers earlier this year approved the construction of Las Vegas-style casino resorts in five cash-strapped cities around the state. Danville is one of the cities permitted to host gambling venues, with Bristol, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Norfolk being the other four.
In May, Bristol selected Florida-based gaming and hospitality company Hard Rock International as its preferred casino partner, while Norfolk leaders picked the Pamunkey Tribe as the preferred developer of the city’s casino.
Despite Tuesday’s unanimous approval from Danville officials, Caesars’ casino proposal still has a long way to go before it materializes. The fate of the plan lies with Danville citizens.
The City Council now needs to get a casino question on the November 3 ballot. Under the casino legislation recently approved by state lawmakers, gaming resort plans need to be approved by residents of the cities at citywide referendums.
Caesars plans to build a $400 million casino resort at the site of the former Dan River Mills industrial complex in Schoolfield. The property will feature a 500-room hotel, a casino with 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, 16 poker tables, and a sportsbook, a 35,000-square-foot conference center, a number of food and beverage outlets, and a 2,500-seat live entertainment venue.
According to early projections, the resort will annually generate more than $30 million in gaming taxes and supplemental payments for its host city. Danville will also receive $20 million in upfront payments for land acquisition and public investments.
Additionally, the city will get about $4 million in direct additional annual taxes from real estate, hotel taxes, meals, and sales.
The project is anticipated to create 900 jobs during construction phase and 1,300 permanent jobs with competitive benefit packages and average annual wages between $35,000 and $47,000.
While Caesars has not said when its property, if approved by voters, will open doors, it is believed that this will happen at some point in 2023.
Commenting on Caesars’ casino proposal, City Mayor Alonzo Jones said last month that Danville leaders have three focus areas – “reduce crime, improve education, and increase economic development.”
Mayor Jones also pointed out that if the project gets approved by voters in November, it “is anticipated to generate $35 million in new annual revenue which will allow the city an opportunity to significantly improve each of these areas for years to come.”
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