NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a good bet that casino gaming is coming to Hampton Roads.
Preliminary results show that Norfolk and Portsmouth residents voted in favor of a referendum that would pave way for a casinos in both cities.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has already declared a victory saying it will open a $500 million resort and casino on the waterfront near Harbor Park in Norfolk.
94 percent of precincts in Norfolk reported votes by 5 a.m. on Wednesday. Ballots already counted show that about 65% of people voted in favor of the referendum, while 35% voted against it.
“While every vote deserves to be counted, the residents of Norfolk have made it clear that they are excited about a resort and casino coming to the Mermaid City,” said Jay Smith, Spokesman for the Norfolk Resort & Casino.
Norfolk’s casino — which would be developed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in partnership with Tennessee billionaire Jon Yarbrough — is planned for just over 13 acres next to Harbor Park.
The Pamunkey Tribe says they will invest $500 million to construct a resort featuring 3,000 slots, 150 table games, a 300-room full-service hotel, steak and seafood restaurant, sports bar and grill, cafe, spa and 2,500-seat entertainment venue.
“We are moved beyond words by the tremendous display of support we’ve received from the Norfolk community,” Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief Robert Gray wrote in a news release. “To everyone who advocated on our behalf, shared our message with their friends and neighbors, put up a yard sign, wore a sticker, or simply voted YES, we cannot thank you enough. We look forward to working with you to make Norfolk even stronger for decades to come.”
Both Virginia Sen. Louise Lucas — who has vouched for a different casino plan in Portsmouth that also passed this election — and Gray told 10 On Your Side they believe the two casinos can both thrive in the Hampton Roads area. Portsmouth residents voted 66.69% in favor of the casino plan.
Earlier in the day, turnout was slow but steady in Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum precinct. Voters were able to go through the whole process of getting out of their car, walking to the entrance and voting in a matter of minutes for most of the day.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, the precinct has 4,030 voters and about 58% had voted either in person or by mail before Election Day. The majority of the voters 10 On Your Side talked with favored Joe Biden to replace President Donald Trump.
The precinct is located in the 3rd Congressional District, where current Congressman Bobby Scott was expected to be re-elected to Congress over John Collick.
As of 1:30 a.m., Scott was winning in the district with 100% of precincts reporting. Scott had 63.4% of the vote, while Collick had 36.6%.
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