Changes Announced For Temporary Casino Facility In Norfolk


Officials with HeadWaters Resort & Casino and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe recently announced a change to their temporary casino facility plans. The Norfolk, Virginia casino will no longer be located in Harbor Park Stadium, home to the Norfolk Tides, a minor league (AAA) baseball team. 

“The Tribe and the City of Norfolk had explored locating the temporary facility in an underutilized area of Harbor Park because it provided a unique win-win opportunity to upgrade a City-owned, aging facility that would also benefit the community and the fans at no taxpayer expense while generating immediate revenue for the City,” a press release from HeadWaters said. “However, issues were recently raised about the address of the proposed initial gaming facility. While the Tribe does not believe the ballpark address to be an issue since it was approved by the City, any delay due to a potential challenge is unacceptable.”

The temporary facility will be located in a parking lot to the east of the stadium rather than inside the park. The temporary location is in the same spot where the permanent casino will eventually be built.

Norfolk officials have scrapped plans for a temporary casino inside Harbor Park stadium over concerns it would not meet the city’s specifications.

Instead, it will be built on the same property that the permanent casino will eventually call home.

— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) July 20, 2022

“Once a site plan is submitted and approved by the City, construction on the temporary gaming facility will begin immediately,” the press release said. “The Tribe could open the temporary building as early as March of 2023, at which time tax revenue could begin to flow to the City for key budget priorities.”

Hard Rock shares early financial data

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which held its grand opening in Bristol on July 8, recently shared early financial data with the Virginia Lottery. The casino revealed that it had gaming revenue of $37.5 million from July 5-14, with the majority of that coming from slot games. Adjusted gross revenue was reported at $3.7 million, and the casino generated $673,928 in tax revenue during that time period.

Hard Rock is currently the only casino in Virginia, although Virginia law allows for casinos in five cities. Norfolk will have the HeadWaters Resort & Casino, while Rivers Casino is coming to Portsmouth and a Caesars location is expected to open in Danville in 2024. There’s debate over the potential location of a fifth casino, with Richmond’s casino referendum having failed in 2021.

The Rivers Casino in Portsmouth is expected to open in early 2023, and the location will hold a job fair Saturday in hopes of attracting potential staff members.

Online casinos aren’t legal in Virginia, but mobile sports betting is legal and operational in the state. There are 14 mobile sports betting operators live in Virginia, including major brands like BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

Photo: Shutterstock

Author: Ryan Gonzales