On the first recognised Indigenous People’s Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Monday 12 October), the planned $500 m Norfolk Resort & Casino will raise between $3.5 m and $4 m per year for the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe announced this week.
In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation directing one percent of gambling proceeds from every casino owned by a federally recognised Indian tribe to a fund to support other federally recognised tribes in the state.
The fund will provide financial resources to six of the state’s federally recognised Indian tribes for purposes such as education, housing , health care, business growth and other areas of assistance.
The Chickahominy Indian Tribe; the Chickahominy Indian Tribe Eastern Division; the Upper Mattaponi Tribe; the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc.; the Monacan Indian Nation; and the Nansemond Indian Tribe are among those set to benefit from the fund.
A portion of casino gaming proceeds, expected to be approximately $ 50 million annually, will go towards building, reconstruction or improvements for public schools in Virginia in addition to the Fund.
Pamunkey Tribe Chief Robert Gray said: “As the only tribe eligible to operate a casino in the state, we are thrilled with the opportunities our proposed resort and casino can provide other native Virginians.
“After suffering injustices for hundreds of years, casino gaming in Norfolk will help continue the process of reconciliation for some of the Commonwealth’s first disenfranchised groups.
“We know what this will mean in terms of new opportunities for our tribe and that’s why we pushed to have a portion of gaming revenue taxes go to a fund to assist the other tribes.”
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe was unanimously chosen as the preferred casino gaming operator for the planned waterfront resort and casino by the Norfolk city council earlier this year.
The facility is planned to have a 300-room full-service hotel, 3,000 slots, 150 table games, a 300-room full-service hotel, a steak and seafood restaurant, a sports bar and grill, a cafe, a spa and a 2,500-seat entertainment venue.
The project is estimated to have a cumulative economic effect of $850 million for the Commonwealth, including $754 million for the City of Norfolk, as well as supplying the city with about $26m-$31 m per year in gaming and sales-related taxes.