Caesars Danville Casino Referendum Campaign Begins
Residents to decide fate of $400m casino
Caesars Entertainment yesterday launched a referendum campaign designed to drum up local support for Caesars Virginia, a $400m casino resort in the southern city of Danville. The casino giant is going for the yes vote with all guns blazing, tweeting a 3D animation of the proposed gaming resort that is expected to be operative by 2023.
The ‘Caesars for Danville’ campaign is spearheaded by Tony Rodio, ex-CEO and strategic adviser for the Reno-based casino operator. Rodio will coordinate the operation supported by four co-chairs and key Danville community figures. These are Virginia House of Delegates Member Danny Marshall, Mayor Alonzo Jones, Dr Tiffany Franks of Averett University, and project minority investor Tammy Wright-Warren.
On August 6, Danville Circuit Court Judge Joseph Milam released the official order that places the referendum on the November ballot. The fate of the proposed facility now lies in the hands of Danville’s residents. Early voting starts September 18, with ‘election day’ falling on November 3.
Voters will answer the following yes or no question: “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?”
Caesars upping the ante
Caesars has created a standalone website for the proposed $400m resort and casino development in Schoolfield. Caesars Virginia promises 1,300 ongoing jobs and “tens of millions in new tax revenue” for the city which Business Insider listed as 46th in America’s top fifty most miserable cities.
Company president and CEO Anthony Carano said Caesars Virginia is set to bring to Danville the “same phenomenal offerings” it is renowned for throughout the US. “This project will be transformative for our region and deserves our support […] a world-class resort in Danville is the next step in our economic revitalization,” added Virginia House of Delegates Member Danny Marshall.
If Danville citizens vote yes, Caesars will build a resort with more than 300 hotel rooms, restaurants, bars, and a 2,500-person-capacity live entertainment venue. It would also include a sportsbook in addition to 16 poker tables, 75 table games, and 2,000 slot machines.
Adding his support, Mayor Alonzo Jones said the casino represented “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. Doctor Tiffany Franks, president of Averett University, said students would be able to intern at the resort, resulting in “rewarding and fulfilling careers right here in Danville”.
Multimedia publicity blitz
Caesars is campaigning with customary punch. Rodio told Danville Register & Bee that the publicity campaign would take a multi-channel approach. “We’re going to use traditional media, a lot of social media, boots on the ground, talking to people.”
Rodio is confident that his four-person committee will provide key insight into the Danville community and help get the Caesars “story across”. Committee member Wright-Warren added that within in its operational areas, Caesars has a robust record of boosting small businesses, “especially those owned by women and minorities”.
Danville, alongside Bristol and Portsmouth, was one of three Virginia cities earmarked for casino development, after House Bill 2536 was passed in January 2019.