RICHMOND, Va. — The one-day special session of the Virginia General Assembly Wednesday brought legislation that cleared the way for casino gaming in Norfolk and Richmond.
Lawmakers passed the bill before them which included amendments from Gov. Ralph Northam.
The Pamunkey Tribe, which has proposed building casinos in both cities, quickly released a statement about the decision:
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.
For two years, the Virginia General Assembly considered whether casinos should be legal in the state.
The Pamunkey Tribe said it wanted to build a casino and resort near Harbor Park in Norfolk back in December 2018. It and the City of Norfolk signed a development agreement in January 2020. That agreement was to govern and, along with applicable laws, regulate the relationship between the tribe and Norfolk as the tribe developed the property along the Elizabeth River.
The spokesman for the Pamunkey Tribe, Jay Smith, said it planned to compete for the opportunity to build a commercial resort and casino in Richmond.
The tribe set up Facebook pages for the projects so that people could learn more about them and show their support for them.