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Supporters of Norfolk casino launch effort for referendum approval

Posted at 2:35 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 18:19:00-04

NORFOLK, Va. - With just over two months until Election Day, voters in Norfolk and Portsmouth will vote on referendums to approve casinos being built in their cities.

Norfolk has partnered with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to build a casino near Harbor Park. "This $500 million project will be part of a long recovery from one of the greatest hits to the economy of our lifetime," said Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray on Monday morning during a press conference launching a campaign for referendum approval.

Earlier this year, the General Assembly legalized casino gambling in five localities in Virginia, including Norfolk and Portsmouth. Voters in the cities have the final say on approving the casinos.

"Our city will potentially benefit from millions of dollars in new tax revue that will be committed to public education," said Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander.

During a press conference Monday, Gray also announced the Tribe is contributing $150,000 in financing to help bring a grocery store to the St. Paul's area. The neighborhood has been considered a food desert since the Save A Lot grocery store left in June.

The City of Portsmouth also wants to move forward with a casino near Tidewater Community College. Their partner is Rush Street Gaming.

Chief Gray thinks both could work. "If there's only one, that one casino would be able to forecast greater revenue, but that doesn't deter me from saying we can both exist," he said.

The referendum election is on November 3.