RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced they are ready to move forward with plans to establish casinos in Richmond and Norfolk after the state legislature approved Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendment legalizing casinos in Virginia.
The Pamunkey Tribe thanks the Governor and the General Assembly for recognizing their right to pursue gaming and for allowing the Tribe be included in this legislation. This will enable the Tribe move forward as it looks to establish programs and services to help their Tribe and support the Commonwealth. As Native Virginians, the tribe will keep its profits in Virginia and reinvest locally – benefitting Virginians and particularly the residents in the communities its casinos will operate.Jay Smith, Tribes Spokesman
The news comes after Governor Ralph Northam amended the original bill with new regulations. The new rule includes designating all state funds taken from the casino tax revenue and forfeiting to future school construction projects.
“It’s not like an out-of-state company whose going to take those profits and go elsewhere,” Smith told 8News. “Those profits and those revenues are being reinvested locally in the communities in which we operate and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Smith adds the tribe supports this regulation “because they are native Virginians, they are the home team here. So, they want to reinvest locally right here back in Virginia.”
The tribe announced plans to build a casino in Norfolk in December of 2018, and by January the tribe and the city signed a development agreement for it. The tribe is now also planning to compete for the opportunity to build a casino in Richmond as well.
“The tribe has an option on property in Manchester, and looks forward to present a proposal to the city council that would show we could build a world-class resort right here in Richmond,” Smith said.
The Norfolk project referendum is expected to be on the November ballot, but Smith says they’re still waiting to see where Richmond is in the process. Smith says, however, that the legalizing of commercial casino gambling in Virginia is a step in the right direction.
“This is a culmination of two years of hard work,” Smith said. “This is important for the tribe, not for the sake of gaming, but for what it means for the Tribe’s members. This will allow them to have access to programs and opportunities that they otherwise could not afford.”
You can learn more about the Norfolk casino’s plans here and Richmond’s plans here.
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