Caesars Virginia casino opens in Danville
On May 15, the first bets were taken at the 40,000-square-foot temporary Caesars Virginia casino in Danville, while a $650 million permanent resort casino is being built next door.
The temporary casino looks like a simple white tent on the outside, but the inside feels “very much like you’re in any casino in the country,” says Chris Albrecht, senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Virginia.
Albrecht has worked at Caesars Entertainment Inc. casinos across the nation for the past 18 years but says it’s the first time he’s opened a temporary casino. It’s a challenge not having the full set of amenities and tools of a permanent casino, he says, but he’s dedicated to making the experience great for customers.
Located at the former Dan River Inc. Schoolfield mill site, the temporary facility features 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.
Hiring began in January, and the temporary casino has about 400 workers, about a quarter of whom are table games dealers.
A partnership between Caesars Entertainment and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Caesars Virginia started construction in August 2022 on the permanent casino, which is expected to open in late 2024. Plans call for 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 have at least 1,300 slots, 85 live game tables, 24 electronic table games, a poker room and sportsbook.
Caesars Virginia received the green light to operate on April 26, when the Virginia Lottery Board approved its license, making it the third casino to receive state approval.
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. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s license for the proposed $500 million HeadWaters Resort & Casino on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk is still pending state approval.