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Virginia casinos (and sports betting) -- one step closer

Discussion in 'Casino Industry & Development' started by JulianC, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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    Per the Virginian-Pilot: https://www.pilotonline.com/government/virginia/vp-nw-casinos-pass-general-assembly-20200308-bk53shhoo5dszl3bfza2dtm2ui-story.html

    From this article, it looks like the Commonwealth of Virginia is getting some key parts of this right. The smartest play all along has been to not even bother going after northern Virginia, since Maryland and West Virginia have had that market locked up for nearly a decade.

    Recent speculation about the potential operators of the potential five Virginia casinos can be found in an article from Virginia Business: https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/casino-operators-go-head-to-head-in-bristol-and-richmond/

    The story says that the license for Danville (south central region of VA) is the only one that is without a lead bidder at the moment. At least two local (or nearby) tribes are in the running for commercial licenses (instead of going for tribal casinos), along with Hard Rock. The other potential commercial players are Rush Street Gaming (of the Rivers Casino brand) and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (which already operates a race track and OTB parlors in Virginia. All of their facilities offer slot-like machines that are based on historical horse races [1][2]). It does not look like there are many angles left for the big companies like Boyd, Penn National (especially them, since they specialize in racinos and the race track market is already cornered in Virginia), and CET (pre- or post-merger; may as well just lump Eldorado in as well) to get a piece of the action.

    [1] https://www.casino.org/news/historical-horse-racing-goes-live-at-virginias-colonial-downs/
    [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_Racing
     
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  2. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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    I think that Maryland is going to once again fail to get the potential sports betting bills hammered out in time for the elections later this year. I think that Virginia is going to easily get sports betting onto the ballot this year. When that happens, and if VA voters approve it, that would mean that every state directly neighboring Maryland (plus DC) would have legalized sports betting -- and MD would be at least two more years away from getting it.

    The two CET-operated tribal properties in North Carolina would be competing with the Bristol property -- unless the same tribe that owns those CET properties gets their proposed Bristol project to be the one selected for the commercial casino license in Bristol. That location is strategic because it would pull in gamblers from neighboring Tennessee and Kentucky -- states that have no casinos at all.

    Danville is probably the most strategic location of the five -- and it would be the one that a larger operator not already in the picture should grab. I see Danville drawing in guests/gamblers from the large population centers of North Carolina that are just 50-100 miles away (Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem; just a bit farther away are Fayetteville and Greenville). Those places in NC have people who earn good money (especially Raleigh and Durham). The Danville casino absolutely needs to be a destination property and not just a bit more than a slot parlor. It needs to truly be a resort because there is otherwise not much else in the area that is already a huge draw (unless you count the rookie-league baseball team and the Biscuitville in the middle of town).

    I think that Cordish (owners of the Live! Casino in Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia; also, a company that has developed several entertainment districts all over the country with the Live! brands), as someone already in the region, ought to go after Danville. I could see Cordish (re-)developing something in Danville similar to how they incorporated existing elements of the Baltimore Inner Harbor into what is now Power Plant Live. Another casino owner/operator could come in and build a casino, but the Danville project needs to be an all-inclusive destination that has the casino resort as just part of the whole.
     
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  3. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    Always been mystified why they are so scared of sports betting.

    Its like society will crumble if we allow it yet we can have a casino on every piece of native land.
     
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  4. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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    In most cases, only if the tribe who owns that land enters into a compact with the state that surrounds that land. Some tribes get so good at it that they start operating commercial casinos all over the place (Hard Rock and Mohegan Gaming being the prime examples).
     
  5. hail2skins

    hail2skins VIP Whale

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    Julian, your point makes sense, but OTOH, with the population in NoVA, wouldn't it make sense to have a casino up here, if the goal is to keep dollars in state instead of flowing across into MD and WV?
     
  6. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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    ... or right to Vegas, since Dulles is right there (for those who live in NoVA and would never dare be caught slumming it across the river in MD). Speaking of Dulles, any casino in NoVA would at least have to be in Loudoun, and likely not far from Route 28. Horrendous traffic (even on weekend mornings/afternoons) is why Woodbridge (perhaps at/near Potomac Mills) wouldn't work. NIMBY might keep it out of that area, too. And then there's Tyson's. A lot of wealth and income in that area, and it is right on Metro... but is it too close to National Harbor?

    A NoVA casino would probably be a few years away from the ballot, and would likely have either Wynn or Sands developing it (since it has to be a five-star resort in that area; anything less would not be good enough).
     
  7. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I live 25 miles from Danville and cannot imagine how they think that would be a good place for a casino....(but then, I've never been to Cherokee either - just don't want to gamble that much)
     
  8. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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    If NC puts a casino near Durham, Greensboro, or Winston-Salem, then anything in Danville would be dead. Danville is VA's bet bet that NC will not be voting in commercial casino gaming in the foreseeable future.
     
  9. bull0120

    bull0120 High-Roller

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    Bristol has it down to two locations. One is at the sight of the old Bristol Mall and it is the one with Hard Rock backing it. The other is being set up by a local businessman adjoining a very successful retail sight he developed called "The Pinnacle" and it is being backed by the Cherokee's. We're pretty excited about both proposals around here and are "betting on Bristol" lol. If I had to guess which one will make it, I would guess it would be the one at "The Pinnacle" as that development has been a gold mine since it opened. I feel like either location will be successful ventures though. Bristol has done a great job in recent years with promoting tourism. With two NASCAR races, a well attended yearly music festival, and promoting itself as "The Birthplace of Country Music" a casino will only draw more people to the area.
     
    Location TBD
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  10. JulianC

    JulianC Amateur

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  11. tom.mckenzie

    tom.mckenzie Low-Roller

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    I live in Virginia and I'm pretty sure I won't be gambling there for the foreseeable future. Even if we get a few casinos, they will be so spread out and so far from a significant number of competitors that there will be no reason for them to give you decent odds, decent comps, etc. I might as well take my money to the local 7-11s and throw it into those "games of skill" that look like slot machines to me. They're all over the place, at least here in Harrisonburg. Or, God forbid, play the lottery.

    I'll save my money and go to Vegas where I at least have a fighting chance at scoring an inexpensive vacation...
     
  12. willslotforcash

    willslotforcash Low-Roller

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    Given the tax revenue shortfalls due to covid, you might get casinos sooner than you think.
     
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  13. Crawfordesquire

    Crawfordesquire High-Roller

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    VA is clearly taking a page out of CT's playbook, get all your revenue from out of state residents traveling.
     
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  14. tom.mckenzie

    tom.mckenzie Low-Roller

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    I'm not disputing whether Virginia will have casinos. I don't think there will be enough for them to offer us a decent chance. Thanks, but no.
     
  15. bull0120

    bull0120 High-Roller

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    I live about 30 minutes from Bristol and I can't wait for it to happen. I'll never stay the night there, unless I got too drunk to drive home. Then I would probably just Uber to a friend's house nearby or a nearby cheap motel if I didn't have a free room. It will definitely be my hangout spot on the weekend and I fully expect to know everyone there within a month. It's going to be great lol.
     
    Location TBD
  16. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Eh. I live 25 miles from Danville (I'm in NC) and won't likely ever go. Maybe once just to see it. Have never been (nor had a desire to go) to Cherokee in NC. Guess I'm more a "Vegas Visitor" than gambler.....
     
  17. bull0120

    bull0120 High-Roller

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