Tribal Organization: Pamunkey Indian Tribe
Elizabeth River at Harbor Park
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe signed a land agreement with the City of Norfolk in January 2020 for an option to purchase 13.4 acres of city land along the Elizabeth River and next to Harbor Park for the purpose of building a $700 casino and hotel. The deal is subject to pending state legislation to legalize casinos in Virginia.
Pamunkey Indian Tribe
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe was recognized by the federal government in 2016. Federal recognition qualifies the tribe to engage in Indian Gaming under the jurisdiction of the National Indian Gaming Commission and the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).
The Indian Gaming Regulation (IGRA) defines three classes of gambling with conditions that determine which tribal gaming will be approved for the Pamunkey Indian Tribe or any other tribal applicant wanting a gambling facility.
The Pamunkey Tribe casino proposal will take years to reach a final decision on approval and agreement on the type of allowed gaming. The process will include the U.S. Interior Department, the State of Virginia and the court system before a final outcome could result in either a Class II or Class III casino.
If approved the Pamunkey Indian Tribe intends to build the casino and hotel in the eastern part of Virginia. It will not be located on the tribe's King William County reservation.
On Sep. 24, 2019 the Norfolk City Council approved a land sale and intergovernment agreement with the Pamunkey Tribe to sell the tribe 13 acres of city-owned land along the Elizabeth River for the casino site. See story below.
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January 16, 2020
Video courtesy of 13 ABC NEWS NOW
The Pamunkey Tribe and the City of Norfolk signed two agreements Monday that advance the tribe's plan to build a $700 million casino on the Elizabeth River.
The first agreement was an option for the Pamunkey Tribe to buy 13.4 acres of city property next to Harbor Park for $750,000 per acre ($10+ million total). The option is subject to the state approval of a casino license for the site. The option expires after three years but can be extended twice for one year.
The second agreement was a development agreement to regulate the construction and use of the property in compliance with state and local building codes.
September 27, 2019
The Norfolk City Council held a public hearing Tuesday before voting 7-1 to approve a land sale and intergovernmental agreement with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The agreement is a major step forward for the Tribe's plan to build a $700 million riverfront casino and hotel in Norfolk.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing to build a casino with 3,500 to 4,500 slot machines and up to 225 table games, a 750-seat entertainment venue, 3-5 restaurants, a hotel and spa, and a waterfront promenade.
The sale agreement for 13 acres of city-owned land to the Pamunkey Tribe is contingent upon the tribe getting final casino approval from either the state for a commercial casino or the federal govenment for an Indian gaming casino.
TERMS OF THE DEAL
1. Land Purchase
The City of Norfolk will sell 13.25 acres of land to the Pamunkey Tribe on a five-year option to buy. The Tribe will pay $100,000 per year for the option and $10 million to purchase the land if their casino application is successful. The current market value is $750,000 per acre.
2. Revenue Sharing Agreement
If the casino is approved under the U,S, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, The Tribe will pay 4% of gambling revenues to the City of Norfolk. If the casino is licensed under Virginia law, the Tribe will be taxed per state law.
The timeframe for opening a casino in Norfolk is likely 3-4 years away. The Virginia General Assembly is considering legislation that will mandate voter approval in five cities with proposed casinos. If passed in the next legislative session, these casino referendums would appear on the November 2021 ballot. If passed by the voters, construction of a commercial casino in Norfolk would start soon afterwards, and completion would be in 2022-2023.
If the Pamunkey Indian Tribe does not pursue a federally-approved tribal casino, the voter process would be bypassed. However, the federal process is lengthy and the timeframe is similar.
December 19, 2018Courtesy of ABC 8 News
The Pamunkey Tribe has announced negotiations with the City of Norfolk to purchase 20 acres of riverfront property owned by the city for the purpose of building a $700 million casino and hotel. The site is near the Amtrak Station and Harbor Park stadium.
In March 2018, two years after the Pamunkey Indians were recognized by the federal government, the tribe announced plans to build a casino with hotel and spa somewhere in Eastern Virginia.
A month later the Pamunkeys announced the purchase of 610 acres in New Kent County as a potential building site for their casino project. The location is east of Richmond at the Exit 205 interchange on I-64. The tribe also said at the time it had not committed to build there and would continue to seek other opportunities including land in Richmond and its vicinity.
When the final decision is made about the casino location, the Pamunkeys will petition the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to take that land into federal trust as part of their reservation land.
January 29, 2019
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing to build a $750 casino and hotel along the Elizabeth River in the City of Norfolk. Last night the city council cast a unanimous vote to support the project.
The Norfolk City Council passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to proceed with legislation that would lead to state-licensing of the Pamunkey casino as an alternative to the lengthy federal Indian gaming process.
The General Assembly is woking on a bill to authorize and regulate casino gambling. It will require an election referendum on the November ballot for Norfolk residents to agree or reject the Pamunkey casino.
April 21, 2018
A possible resort casino could be developed in New Kent County. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe purchased over 600 acres of land. The property is being considered for the casino project.
However, this is not the only potential location. Other areas in central and eastern Virginia are being considered.
Plans were previously announced for the tribe's desire to develop a casino resort. Acquiring land is one of the main tasks that the tribe has undertaken in order to make progress on their casino plans.
Located off of Interstate 64 and the Bottoms Bridge-Quinton exit, the property makes up four parcels. An LLC bought the land for $3.05 million according to tax records from the county. The mailing address matches the same as a video game operator with a state approved license, named B&B Amusement of Illinois. The company operates over 60 venues.
The tribe wants to build a gaming facility with a hotel, entertainment venue, and spa. The estimated cost to complete the project will be $700 million.
Full time positions would be available for 4,000 people. Payroll would equal around $200 million. The state could earn an estimated $1 billion from gaming revenue taxes.
Both the state and the local community where the project would be built would benefit in the revenue sharing.
The tribe would also like to be able to provide rural Virginia with broadband. They also would like to fund housing for seniors.
Middle Peninsula Planning District Council may also be involved. Joining with the council may allow for the project to qualify for federal grants. That could be used to help create jobs and improve infrastructure.
March 16, 2018
Plans for a proposed Pamunkey Indian Tribe owned casino have been announced. If approved it will be built in the eastern section of Virginia and 4,000 full time jobs would be created. It would cost an estimated $700 million.
There would be casino games. There will also be a hotel, spa, and entertainment.
Construction would create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs.
Annual payroll would equal $200 million. Companies that supply support services and other indirect companies could have a $1 billion impact for the state.
The casino will not be located on the tribe's King William County reservation.
They are interested in a partnership with a community to build their project. The site for the proposed casino to be developed is still being determined. Property being considered must be able to accommodate a large number of visitors. As well as access to utilities like water and sewer. Until these things are settled, a timeline for construction can not be announced.
The community that is selected for the proposed casino would enter into an agreement that would allow for sharing the casino revenues. The state would also receive a portion.
An investment group is currently in negotiations with the tribe to help develop the project. Details on the investment company have not been released.
Financing for the project also needs to be secured.
The National Indian Gaming Commission would oversee the casino's gaming operations. One of the purposed for the commission is to ensure that the games are ran fairly. It also monitors the agreements made between the tribe and the casino management company.
Dependent on current state laws, the casino could be allowed to operate slot machines and table games. However, the choice of games must be approved by the commission and the negotiated on for the gaming compact.
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