‘Deal us in’: Hampton wants ability to develop a casino

Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — If Hampton Roads can indeed support multiple casinos, one of them needs to be on the Peninsula, according to Hampton’s mayor.

Included in Hampton City Council’s 2020 Legislative Packet is a request for the city to be added to casino legislation currently being considered by the General Assembly. As it stands, only the cities of Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond would be allowed to host casino gaming if the bill passes and then is subsequently approved by voters in each individual city.

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily gaming fever, but the thinking among at least I think our council is that if there is going to be two casino gaming places in Hampton Roads, at least one should be on the Peninsula,” said Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck.

Both Norfolk and Portsmouth have had public casino proposals for the better part of the year. In July, a pair of gaming experts determined two casinos could survive in Hampton Roads.

Hampton doesn’t plan to be going at this alone. Tuck is encouraging other Peninsula mayors and board of supervisor chairs to have the legislation request made too. Unlike the Southside cities, Tuck says they are proposing to let all municipalities financially benefit.

“We’re looking at it as a regional revenue-sharing economic development project … we will look at taking some the revenue from (the casino) that occurs and put it into a pot that would be used to finance regional projects,” Tuck said. “We’re all in on regional cooperation.”

Studies on the feasibility of a casino in Hampton are currently being conducted.

Senator Louis Lucas (D-Portsmouth), who was the chief sponsor of the bill in the General Assembly, did not return requests for comment.

This is all happening as the closest thing to a casino in the region, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, opens in Hampton on Tuesday.

Owners of Rosie’s parent company, The Colonial Downs Group, also operate casino’s in other states under the name “JNB Gaming,” and a statement clearly left the idea for expansion open.

“We are awaiting the statewide study on the future of gaming in Virginia and look forward to robust discussions in the upcoming General Assembly. As Virginia’s second largest gaming provider, Colonial Downs Group is eager to continue the extremely successful partnership we have established with the Commonwealth and its localities.”

Colonial Downs Group

Several developers have already approached the city about casinos according to Tuck and they are pointing them to available land over near Hampton Coliseum.

“Bottom line, we want a seat at the table.”

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