A new study that was presented to Danville City Council during its work session on November 19th showed that gambling revenues of approximately $363.5 million could be brought to the city in 2022 in case a destination resort casino is situated at a highway site in the area.
If approved, the operation would end up creating up to 2,377 direct jobs and would provide $75.7 million in wages. The research, conducted by New Orleans-based Convergence Strategy Group also found that the total property revenues at the above-mentioned highway location could amount to as much as $436.5 million.
According to the results of the research, a large casino resort situated at a highway location would generate gaming taxes ranging from $4 million to $4.5 million to be locally distributed. Also, if a large casino resort is established, the city of Danville could see further incremental sales, meal and hotel taxes ranging from $4.8 million to $5.4 million.
As revealed by one of the managing partners in the company that carried out the research, the study was not conducted to support gambling in the area, but to provide a better perspective on the advantages and disadvantages and the various impacts that a Danville commercial casino would have on the area.
In 2018, the General Assembly approved a piece of legislation under which some commercial casino operations could be established in a number of cities that have been facing some financial difficulties, including Danville. In order for this to happen, the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission first has to complete a study on the issue, and then, the General Assembly needs to ratify the measure during its 2020 session.
Study Checks the Eventual Impact of a Bigger Resort and a Smaller Casino
At the time when it carried out the research, the firm analyzed the potential for casino gambling at four locations in Danville – a highway location that was left unnamed, Schoolfield at the former industrial site of Dan River Inc., the White Mill and the Piedmont Drive retail corridor.
Also, two separate scenarios for each of the four locations were examined. The first one involved a relatively small casino venue featuring 60 table games, 1,200 electronic gaming machines, some food-and-beverage offerings, about 225 hotel rooms and limited amenities as a whole. The other one involved a destination resort-scale casino featuring 100 table games, 2,500 slot machines, as well as a great variety of food-and-beverage offerings and other amenities, including about 325 hotel rooms.
The study also checked on the estimated impact of a historic horse racing facility. Furthermore, the researches interviewed public safety officials in 12 other cities that are similar in size to Danville, where there are casinos.
Previously, some Danville City Council members shared some concerns that the addition of a commercial casino may have a negative impact on the community. The study, however, does not address potential gambling addiction rates. Also, some people have been associating the proposed casino with increased crime rates but according to one of the Council members, Adam Tomer, there was no evidence that crime would increase due to a new casino establishment.