Casino Plans for Petersburg, Virginia, Take a Step Forward

The Petersburg City Council has taken a decisive step forward in the development of a new casino. The Progress-Index reports that it cleared the way this week for the Virginia Lottery Board to conduct a thorough review of The Cordish Companies' proposal.

A rendering of a proposed casino complex by The Cordish Companies for Petersburg, Virginia. (Source: The Cordish Companies)

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The unanimous decision by the Council, reflected in a 6-0 vote, marks a significant milestone in the partnership between the committee, The Cordish Companies and Bruce Smith Enterprise. Their collaboration aims to establish a sprawling 92-acre complex centered around the casino, which promises to be a major economic and entertainment hub in the region.

Related: Cordish Virginia Casino Plans Under Wraps amid 'Political Theater' Claims

Following the Council's approval, the next phase involves the Lottery Board's evaluation of the submitted application packet. The board is allocated a 45-day period to review the details and make an informed decision. This review process is critical as it ensures that all aspects of the casino proposal meet the stringent regulatory standards set forth by the state.

Should the Lottery Board grant its approval, the proposal will then be subject to a judicial review. A Circuit Court judge is tasked with the responsibility of endorsing the referendum, a step that is essential before the matter can be presented to the public.

The citizens' voice will ultimately play a decisive role, as they will have the opportunity to vote on the casino project. However, there's no clear indication which way they'll vote. While residents of some cities approved to host casinos embraced the idea, Norfolk residents rejected a measure twice.

The timeline set by the city council is ambitious yet methodical, with all necessary documentation required to be submitted to the Lottery Board by May 31. This deadline underscores the Council's commitment to maintaining momentum and ensuring that the review process is initiated without delay.

The city's objective is to secure all mandatory approvals by early August. That will then give it enough time to lobby for voter support in the following election.

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Petersburg Hopes to Copy Danville's Success

This development represents a potentially transformative economic opportunity for Petersburg. The casino is expected to generate significant revenue, create jobs, and attract tourists, thereby contributing to the city's growth and prosperity.

If Danville is any indication, Petersburg will have a lot to gain. Caesars Virginia reported substantial revenue for its new property in the city for April. Despite being a temporary establishment, the casino generated $19.73 million in gaming revenue.

This was slightly lower than the previous month's $21.08 million, and Danville has benefited greatly from this venture. It received $1.18 million in gaming tax revenue for April, in addition to a direct payment of $493,422 as part of an agreement with Caesars.

The temporary casino, which opened on May 15 of last year, has been a significant economic contributor to the local community. From last May to April, it amassed almost $222 million in gaming revenue. It also contributed over $18 million in tax revenue to Danville. Direct payments have also been substantial, amounting to approximately $5.5 million. Virginia Lottery data shows that the casino currently operates 33 table games and 820 slots.

While the temporary casino continues to thrive, Caesars is also making headway with the construction of its permanent facility. The permanent casino will be a significant upgrade, featuring 85 table games, over 1,300 slots, a World Series of Poker poker room and a Caesars-branded sportsbook. Additionally, it will include a 500-room hotel, a spa, bars and restaurants and other amenties.

The anticipated completion of this expansive project is slated for late December 2024.


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