Caesars delivers $15 million payment to city of Danville
$5 million more for property pledged by Dec. 31
Danville city officials accepted a $15 million initial payment from Caesars Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday, the first installment of $20 million the company pledged to pay the city after receiving approval from city voters to build a $400 million casino and resort in Danville’s Schoolfield area by 2023.
Las Vegas-based Caesars promised an up-front payment to the city of $15 million, $5.9 million of which will be spent on building a new police station in the former Dan River Inc. executive building, according to news reports. Other expenditures will likely be approved on a case-by-case basis by Danville City Council, which has been seeking public input on the best use for the remaining $9 million.
Caesars also has pledged to pay $5 million to purchase the Schoolfield site from the Danville Industrial Development Authority by Dec. 31, attorney Steven Gould said.
According to a December 2019 study by the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), the Danville casino is expected to generate at least $190 million in direct revenue and $51 million in tax revenue each year by 2025. Caesars has said the project will bring 1,300 jobs to the city.
Voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth approved allowing casinos to be built in their localities by two-thirds majorities or higher during the November elections, giving the projects a green light to proceed. Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed legislation allowing five economically challenged cities — including Richmond, which plans to take up the issue in 2021 — to open one casino per locality, pending approval from local voters. According to state law, developers must invest at least $300 million in each project, and city councilors must approve each project and the casinos’ operators. The Virginia Lottery Board will oversee regulation of the state’s casinos.