Virginia News

Pamunkey Chief details proposed casino plan in New Kent

NEW KENT, Va. (WRIC) -- With access to hundreds of acres of land in New Kent, the Pamunkey Tribe are still deciding where to put the newly proposed casino site. 

Pamunkey's Chief spoke with 8News about the potential site. 

Chief Robert Gray told 8News he isn't bothered the tribe was not invited to speak about their casino plans.

"It was New Kent's prerogative not to invite us and we respect that," said Chief Gray.

County officials said they didn't know about the possibility of a casino coming to New Kent until the day before the news came out. 

"County administrative officials seemed to be excited by the idea and we shared their excitement," said Chief Gray. 

Despite this, the tribe is not depending on county leaders.

"Indian gaming is something that the federal government allowed on federal trust lands. And it's a way for tribes to obtain self-sufficiency and maintain their sovereignty so they can just stand up on their own," Chief Gray told 8News. 

The chief sees the casino as an engine for economic development. 

"We see jobs opening for tribal members and the local population," Chief Gray explained.

The chief also sees how more opportunities for the Pamunkey tribe.

"Health care facilities, housing for both tribal members, business opportunities," Chief Gray said. 

Some critics believe that the casino could lead to a spike in crime in the area.

"We want to meet with the sate, locality, that we're in to make it a win-win and avoid those types of problems that people want to throw out," Chief Gray said. 

Chief Gray told 8News that the casino be expected to come in the near future, betting on three to five years. 

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