The proposed casino by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Norfolk may bring millions in gambling tax revenue, said City Manager Chip Filler. The new casino project is pending the approval of Norfolk residents in November.
Norfolk’s Proposed Casino Project May Bring Millions in Gambling Tax Revenue
Earlier this week, at a City Council work session, officials of Norfolk, Virginia revealed projections about the gambling tax revenue which may be raised by the proposed Pamunkey Indian Tribe casino. The first public projections since December outlined that the city can benefit from tens of millions of gambling taxes every year. According to City Manager Chip Filer, approximately $34 million to $44 million may reach the state’s coffers each year. This is if the Pamunkey tribe builds the $500 million hotel-casino resort as previously announced.
However, the massive casino project in Norfolk depends on a referendum set for November 3. But if build as advertised, Filer estimates that the city will profit not only from gambling tax but also from local taxes such as food, beverages, and real estate levies. Furthermore, he noted that if Norfolk’s new casino brings in similar revenue like MGM’s National Harbor near Washington, D.C. an estimate of $44.5 million will be the profit for the city.
Society’s Concerns – Problem Gambling and Public Safety
The public discussion regarding the new casino project raised two main concerns. Norfolk residents’ main concerns were public safety and gambling addiction. Considering the building of a project of such scale, undoubtedly the public safety would need a boost. Given that visitors of the city will increase in thousands, Filer estimated that an approximate $6-$8 million may be needed to top up the safety of the public.
On the other hand, given that the new casino will feature 3,000 slot machines and 150 table games, there is a high chance that the city’s gambling addiction program will need fresh funds. According to Filer, approximately 5% of the gambling tax revenue may be directed towards funding the gambling treatment program.
With that in mind, those numbers are only projections and are yet to be officially confirmed. But according to Filer, even if a smaller casino is built, one that would rather cost $350 million than $500 million, the city would still make approximately $24.8 million in gambling tax revenue.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe Proposed Casino Project
If approved in November, the $500 million Norfolk casino project will feature 3,000 slot machines. Furthermore, there will be 150 table games as well as a 300 room luxury hotel. The proposed project outlines estimated revenue between $415 million and $485 million per annum. The project estimates approximately 6.2 million visitors annually of which 78% will be outside of the City of Norfolk. An additional 15% of the visitors are expected to arrive outside of Virginia.
But the city will not benefit only from the gambling tax and other local taxes. The new casino project estimates that 2,500 permanent workplaces will be created. And according to a recent announcement by the Tribe, it plans to employ 90% of its workforce locally. With that in mind, according to the project, the annual earnings of the employees will be almost $100 million.