Caesars Danville opens temporary casino
Tentlike temp facility is next to $650M casino under construction
Virginia’s third casino opened its doors Monday in Danville to hundreds of guests lined up to take a look inside Caesars Virginia’s 40,000-square-foot temporary casino.
While the $650 million permanent resort, which is expected to open in late 2024, is being constructed next door, the temporary facility will offer guests eight sportsbook betting kiosks; 740 slot machines; 25 live table games, including blackjack, roulette and baccarat; 28 electronic table games of blackjack, roulette and craps; and a quick-service restaurant, Three Stacks. Resembling a large white tent on the outside, the temporary facility looks like other casinos inside, with flashing lights and seemingly endless rows of gaming machines.
At Monday’s opening ceremony, Caesars officials said that when they learned it would take longer than planned to open the permanent casino, they started making plans to open the temporary one at the former Dan River Inc. Schoolfield mill site where the permanent casino is also being built.
Barron Fuller, regional president with Caesars Entertainment, said they’ve been talking about opening a casino for five years and said getting the temporary casino open was “easier said than done, but great people came together less than a year ago.”
In August 2022, Caesars announced a partnership with the Eastern Band Cherokee Indians on the project and upped the project’s budget from $400 to $650 million.
“It’s great day for Eastern Band, a great day for Danville,” said EBCI Chairman Richard French. “We’re trying to do everything to help build [Danville] better,” he said. “It’s the citizens of the towns that make the town, it’s not the buildings, it’s the people and we just want to thank you all for taking a chance and giving us an opportunity to help you grow and have this casino here.”
Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, talked about the referendum approved by Danville voters in November 2020. “Monday, May 15, 2023, is going to be one of those dates that will be remembered as a turning point in [Danville’s] history,” he said.
The temporary casino will have 400 employees, about a quarter who are table games dealers.
Caesars Virginia received the green light to operate on April 26, when the Virginia Lottery Board approved its license.
The permanent casino is expected to have 500 hotel rooms, a spa, a pool, bars, a 2,500-person entertainment venue and 40,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. It will also feature at least 1,300 slots, 85 live game tables, 24 electronic table games, a poker room and sportsbook.
Virginia’s first casino, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol, opened in July 2022 in a temporary space at the former Bristol Mall after receiving licensing approval less than 90 days earlier. In December 2022, developers began construction nearby on the $400 million permanent Hard Rock casino, which is slated to open in July 2024. The $340 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth, which received its license in November 2022, opened its permanent space in January.