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Virginia's Multi-Billion Casino and iGaming Development

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a considerable boom in one particular market, albeit one which will very likely become the biggest in the world in the next few years.

Since the beginning of the decade, the US has gone from strength to strength following the passing of online gambling legislation in numerous states, which has sparked an almost craze among millions of keen enthusiasts. Furthermore, many states' economies have benefited considerably due to the significant taxation that it has imposed on gambling companies.

In addition to this, there are also positive signs for land-based gambling; certainly, the highly popular resorts of Las Vegas and Atlantic City continue to attract millions of visitors each year, while there have also been some breakthrough states where casino venues have reported strong revenue figures.

A state known for its breathtaking scenery among many other aspects, Virginia could rise on the land-based gambling scene and, it appears numerous industry professionals are of the same thinking. Already, the state has three land-based casinos, all of which have a respectable footfall, indeed, with revenues for this January totaling nearly $53 million and, as a result, there appears to be plenty of promise.

Virginia Land-based igaming

Virginia's $1.4 Billion Game-Changer Project

It appears that Virginia has been placed under consideration for a number of months by gambling industry developers, who have no doubt identified some strong factors about its potential.

What appears to be understood, is that The Cordish Companies and Bruce Smith Enterprises have lodged a proposal to develop in tandem, a $1.4 billion Live! Gaming and Entertainment District in Petersburg in what is being hailed as something that could really put the state on the map in the US gambling industry. Interestingly, the proposal is in response to the city of Petersburg issuing a request for proposal (RFP).

Such a move is certainly interesting indeed, and it is reported that the development would include 400,000 square feet of land being built on, consisting of the Live! Casino Hotel and Resort, which would act as a hotel and casino with considerable dining space and other attractive amenities. There would be a total of 1,600 slot machines, 46 live table games, and a 15-table poker room in addition to a sportsbook. Also included in the proposal was 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space and a 200-room hotel featuring 20 suites.

The plans are for the initial stage of the project that would open within 12 months, to include 1,000 slot machines, 23 live table games, a poker room, casino bar and a restaurant. It is estimated that $2.8 billion would be generated in the first 10 years, adding economic stimulus to the region.

A planned resort of this magnitude is certainly going to make a statement in a city that could be considered to be somewhat on the sleepy side, when compared to other locations. Meanwhile, this would translate to $504m in tax revenues, including $240m to the City of Petersburg. Furthermore, estimations reveal that $802 million in economic benefits will be generated during construction and a further $201 million in annual economic benefits after opening.

Unsurprisingly, there is a great deal of expectation surrounding the upcoming project with everyone involved confident that it can make a lasting impression in the area.

We are incredibly proud to join Bruce Smith and his team to present our vision for a transformational, world-class destination in Petersburg. As our development partner, Bruce shares our core values in investing for the long-term and creating jobs and opportunities for the community.

Zed SmithChief Operating Officer of Cordish Companies

Is Virginia Set for a Gambling Boom?

News of this development comes off the back of recent murmurs that have called for the state to grow its gambling presence and emerge as a major hub in the states. In 2019, Virginia approved casino gambling, though prior to this, gambling fell under Native American casinos and indigenous tribal groups.

Interestingly, Petersburg was not mentioned as a city that any of the state's dignitaries referred to when it came to drawing up a list of potential targets that could be primed for gambling development.

Danville City, though, was one of these, and city manager Ken Larking revealed earlier this year the amount of anticipation that is being generated by potential plans: "People are excited about new visitors coming into the community. I think businesses are seeing an uptick in various activities. We estimate upon, you know, year three or so of a full operation of their full casino resort that there'll be about 39 million dollars of new revenue per year into the community, into the city's general fund budget."

For the best part of a year, Virginia has been progressive toward gambling, with revenue figures continuing to climb steadily over the last few months.

It essentially sets the scene for what is going to come next, and with online gambling still illegal in the state and nothing that points to the fact that legislation will be passed anytime soon, this may well only be the start for the land-based casino industry in the state.

Implications from Petersburg's Development Plan

While there is no doubt that future development of the area of Petersburg will bring with it a substantial amount of initial employment, particularly in the construction industry, there will certainly be hundreds of jobs within the new establishments. In addition to the many more that further casino resorts will provide.

Virginia is considered to be one of the most economically stable states in the US, with generally good levels of employment. The service industry is one of the main contributors, which includes social, health and retail, while the public services are also well represented.

As of this year, the average salary for Virginia residents was $60,000, providing a respectable level of disposable income, indicating that the gambling industry could be well placed. It is also no secret that Langley, Virginia, is the home of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), while many government officials prefer to be based in the state rather than near Washington D.C. The state also plays home to the Pentagon and a number of strategic air bases.

Taking these factors into consideration and the predicted gambling industry growth in Virginia, it makes for an attractive prospect for new casinos looking to attract experienced personnel from other resorts, such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City. In addition, Virginia State University is well respected in academic circles, while the state itself also has venerable levels of education - a further selling point for new casinos to pitch to new employees from out of state.

Virginia gambling plans

The Future of Gambling in the State

There is no doubt that Virginia can become the next big gambling hub, surpassing regions like Atlantic City, especially considering its more temperate climate and more reasonable rates.

It would appear, based on the latest developments regarding the city of Petersburg, that this is as good a candidate as any to claim this mantle. It also has plenty to like about it from a tourist point of view, being steeped in history and having significant ties to the American Civil War.

Such additional tourism to cities such as Petersburg, where there are plans to develop casino resorts, will also likely provide a major boost for local businesses - especially those that may have experienced a downturn in recent times. The recent passing of the skill games bill in the state has also allowed small businesses to place slot machines on their premises as a way of being able to add to their income, though the suggestion is that the continued growth of the land-based casino industry will further assist.

Time will tell over the next year as to whether the state will take things to the next level and, even, to what extent. Certainly, the new resort development in Petersburg will have high hopes and could well prove to be a considerable catalyst for firmly putting Virginia on the gambling map and cementing its place as a market to be reckoned with.

It may also be interesting to see whether the two entities involved embark on further joint ventures in the state going forward and to what degree, based on how this development performs once it is complete.

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