When in Darlington, head to Caesars’ Casino in Virginia — Soon.
Less than a month after lawmakers and Governor Ralph Northam (D) put the finishing touches on a casino and sports betting regulation bill, the ball is officially rolling in Darlington, Virginia as Caesar’s Casino has won a bid to offer their namesake casino, and online sportsbook to residents.
After the comprehensive gambling expansion package was passed on April 22, the Virginia Lottery recently published an ambitious timeline in which online / mobile sportsbooks would launch by December.
And based on a deal struck last week between the city of Danville and Caesars Entertainment, one gambling industry heavy hitter has already thrown their hat into the ring.
Caesars Eager to Expand Casino and Sportsbook Offerings in New State
Along with Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond, Danville is one of five “economically distressed” cities the new gambling law permits to build one of the Commonwealth’s first casinos. That law also states brick and mortar casinos will be given “substantial preference” during the online / mobile sportsbook license application process.
After conducting an open bidding process with prospective casino operators, Danville civic leaders selected Caesars Entertainment to lead the way for Virginia.
In a press release issued by the city, Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones confirmed that negotiations with Caesars were now underway:
“We received several outstanding bids from a variety of companies competing to be Danville’s choice for a resort casino.
The Caesars bid stood out as the best for our community.”
We received several outstanding bids from a variety of companies competing to be Danville’s choice for a resort casino. The Caesars bid stood out as the best for our community.
Alonzo Jones, Danville Mayor
According to the statement, Caesars submitted a bid to invest more than $400 million building a casino resort with up to 500 hotel rooms, a 35,000 square-foot conference center, and a 2,500-seat live entertainment venue. As for the casino itself, players can expect 2,000 slot machines, 75 table game installations, a 16-table poker room, and a full-scale onsite sportsbook.
And while the brick and mortar facilities aren’t expected to be open until 2023, the Caesars Sportsbook online / mobile app already running in New Jersey and Pennsylvania could arrive in Virginia by December’s targeted launch date.
In the press release, Caesars Entertainment’s chief executive officer Tony Rodio celebrated the impending union with Danville and Virginia:
“Caesars is pleased to emerge from a highly competitive process as the unanimous choice by the Danville City Council to build and operate a first-class casino resort in the city.
We look forward to working with city officials, as well as the people of Danville, on the next steps to advance a project that will benefit the city for many decades to come.
We are excited to bring quality jobs and unforgettable guest experiences to Danville, as we do at our 37 properties across the United States.”
Local Voters Must Have Say Before Caesar’s Casino Comes
Based on the gambling expansion law, voters in Danville will be asked to approve the casino proposal via ballot proposition in November.
With that caveat in mind, Mayor Jones is already stumping to secure public approval for the project – one which Caesars pledges will create 1,300 permanent jobs while sending millions of dollars in annual tax revenue into Danville coffers:
“City council has three focus areas: reduce crime, improve education, and increase economic development.
If approved by voters – I say it again, if approved by voters in the November election – this project is anticipated to generate $35 million in new annual revenue which will allow the city an opportunity to significantly improve each of these areas for years to come.”
Provided voters agree, Danville and Caesars will have several prominent competitors in both the land-based and online / mobile spaces.
Portsmouth recently came to terms with Rush Street Gaming, which would expand its Rivers Casino property line and BetRivers sportsbook app. And in Bristol, Hard Rock International is in line to bring its iGaming partner bet365 onboard.