Developers of the soon-to-be-built Norfolk casino have dropped their initial intentions to establish a temporary gaming venue within the Harbor Park minor league baseball stadium. They announced their decision amid the construction of the permanent casino resort that is taking place next door.
The $500-million project called HeadWaters Resort & Casino was unveiled as a collaboration between Jon Yarbrough, a billionaire gaming veteran, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. Norfolk, on the other hand, was one of five cities that have been struggling financially and have managed to qualify for the addition of a casino venue that would bring new jobs, economic activity and last but not least, fresh tax revenue to their regions.
Norfolk officials decided to take advantage of the opportunity and partnered with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and Mr. Yarbrough to bring the proposal to life, with local residents signing off on the HeadWaters casino project in a local ballot referendum held in 2020.
Under the provisions of the commercial gaming law in Virginia, a temporary casino could open until the larger casino resort is built. However, the state’s gambling legislation requires the interim gaming venues to operate at the same location as the permanent casinos are supposed to be hosted. In this exact case, the Norfolk referendum at which local voters approved the proposed casino allows gambling at the approximate address of 200 Park Avenue.
The HeadWaters Casino Project Set to See Temporary Casino Open in March 2023
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the HeadWaters casino project is expected to be built on approximately 13.5 acres of land adjacent to the Harbor Park minor league baseball stadium. The land is currently used as a big parking lot.
At the time when the casino resort project was approved, the HeadWaters’ investors revealed that the casino developers and Norfolk officials considered opening a temporary venue a former restaurant and boxing club location inside Harbor Park. However, the site’s address was different from the one that was already approved by local residents – 150 Park Avenue – which could have resulted in legal hurdles for the project. So, in order to circumvent those potential concerns, a new temporary facility will be instead built on the 200 Park Avenue property where the permanent casino is expected to operate.
The establishment of the temporary casino facility has been considered in an underutilized area of Harbor Park, with the development group believing this location provided a unique win-win opportunity to upgrade an already existing and aging facility at no taxpayer expense while at the same time generating immediate revenues for the city. However, the proposed location for the temporary gaming facility raised some concerns which made the tribe and its partners decide to relocate the planned construction.
According to an official statement published by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, such a move will result in a better experience for the customers, not to mention that it will comply with the requirements of the commercial gambling laws of the state. The construction team of HeadWaters is currently finalizing the site plans that are soon to be submitted to the city’s authorities for further approval. Once the company receives the necessary approval, the actual construction works will begin.
The opening of the temporary gambling location is planned for March 2023. For the time being, the operators have not provided details regarding the scope of the forthcoming temporary casino construction. No exact number of table games or slot machines that are set to be accommodated there has been revealed, too. Such details are expected to be officially announced in the next few weeks.