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Pamunkey Tribe says it's ready to build casinos in Norfolk, Richmond

After the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation to make casinos legal, the tribe said it was prepared to move forward with its plans to build them.

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.

RELATED: Virginia House of Delegates passes bill that legalizes casino gambling in Portsmouth, Norfolk

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.

Credit: City of Norfolk
Artist rendering of a proposed casino resort in Norfolk near Harbor Park. This conceptual rendering may not reflect the final design.

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.

RELATED: Virginia's Pamunkey Tribe announces $350M casino project in Richmond

Credit: AllPamunkey Indian Tribe/In for Richmond Casino Facebook page

The tribe set up Facebook pages for the projects so that people could learn more about them and show their support for them.

The page names are All in for Norfolk Casino and All in for RIchmond Casino.