Danville to Ask Circuit Court for Casino Referendum Green Light
City officials approved the resolution a few weeks after the Virginia Lottery Board pre-certified a proposal for the development of a casino resort in the city.
Six out of the City Council’s nine members voted in favor of the resolution during a regular meeting that took place Tuesday night. Two councilmen were absent, while one councilman attended the meeting but was not able to vote because he has not been sworn-in since his election in May.
The Danville city attorney will now send the resolution to the Danville Circuit Court where a judge must sign an order for a writ of special election by August 14 in order for a casino question to appear on the November 3 ballot.
The Danville City Council selected earlier this year Nevada-based casino giant Caesars Entertainment Inc. as its preferred casino developer. The major operator wants to build a $400 million casino resort at the site of the former Dan River Mills industrial complex.
Danville is one of five cities in Virginia approved to host new full-scale casinos under legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this year, with Richmond, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Norfolk being the other four. The gambling venues are hoped to help these five cities improve their struggling economies.
Caesars’ Proposed Casino
Caesars plans to invest around $400 million into building a casino complex in Danville, if city voters vote in favor of the casino proposal this coming November.
As mentioned earlier, the property will be located at the former Dan River Mills industrial complex in Schoolfield. It will feature a 500-room hotel, a casino with 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, 16 poker tables, and a sportsbook, a number of food and beverage outlets, a 35,000-square-foot conference center, and a 2,500 seat live entertainment venue.
The casino complex is expected to contribute $34 million in annual revenue for its host city. It is projected to generate 1,300 permanent jobs paying between $35,000 and $47,000 a year.
If the casino plan clears the November ballot, Caesars will then have to apply for a license from the Virginia Lottery Board. The regulator said last month when it pre-certified the proposal that it would be subjected to a “more in-depth financial vet and suitability review” when the time for that comes.
The Virginia Lottery Board last month also pre-certified casino projects presented by the cities of Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. The Bristol City Council approved a resolution asking City Court to greenlight a November referendum in mid-July. That city has selected Hard Rock International as its preferred casino operator.