The proposed $500m Norfolk Resort & Casino will generate between $3.5m and $4m every year for the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced this week on the first recognised Indigenous People’s Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Monday 12 October).
The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2020 which directs one per cent of gaming proceeds from any casino operated by a federally recognised Indian tribe, to a fund to assist the other tribes in the state that are also federally recognised.
The fund will provide financial support for purposes such as education, housing, healthcare, business development and other areas of assistance, to six of the state’s federally recognised Indian tribes.
Those set to benefit from the fund include the Chickahominy Indian Tribe; the Chickahominy Indian Tribe Eastern Division; the Upper Mattaponi Tribe; the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc.; the Monacan Indian Nation; and the Nansemond Indian Tribe.
In addition to the Fund, a portion of casino gaming proceeds, estimated to be approximately $50m annually, will go towards construction, renovation or upgrades for Virginia public schools.
“As the only tribe eligible to operate a casino in the state, we are thrilled with the opportunities our proposed resort and casino can provide other native Virginians,” said Pamunkey Tribe Chief Robert Gray.
“After suffering injustices for hundreds of years, casino gaming in Norfolk will help continue the process of reconciliation for some of the Commonwealth’s first disenfranchised groups.
“We know what this will mean in terms of new opportunities for our tribe and that’s why we pushed to have a portion of gaming revenue taxes go to a fund to assist the other tribes.”
Earlier this year, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe were overwhelmingly selected by the Norfolk city council as the preferred casino gaming operator for the proposed waterfront resort and casino.
It is thought that the facility will feature a 300-room full service hotel, 3,000 slots, 150 table games, a 300-room full-service hotel, steak and seafood restaurant, sports bar and grill, cafe, spa and 2,500-seat entertainment venue.
It is anticipated that the project will have a total economic impact of $850m for the Commonwealth, including $754m for the City of Norfolk as well as delivering between $26m-$31m per year in gaming and sales-related taxes to the city.