After winning federal recognition in 2015, the 200-member Pamunkey Indian Tribe is now reportedly searching for a suitable site on which to open Virginia’s first integrated casino resort complete with a hotel featuring in excess of 1,200 rooms.
According to a Saturday report from The Washington Post newspaper, the tribe is planning to spend approximately $700 million on the new venue, which would also feature a spa and entertainments space, and is currently scouting spots in or near its 1,200-acre King William County reservation located some 30 miles east of the city of Richmond.
Robert Gray, Chief for the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, reportedly told The Washington Post that gaining federal recognition has allowed the tribe to chase improved educational and employment opportunities and additionally help it to ‘provide better access to housing for our aging tribe members’.
“The resort is just a piece of that bigger vision and hope for our future,” Gray reportedly told the newspaper.
The Washington Post reported that the Pamunkey Indian Tribe began seeking federal recognition in 1982 but that its efforts had been continually opposed by Las Vegas-based casino operator MGM Resorts International, which opened its $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor venue in the neighboring state of Maryland in December of 2016 complete with a 135,000 sq ft gaming floor featuring 3,600 slots and 150 gaming tables.
The now federally-recognized Pamunkey Indian Tribe reportedly told the newspaper that its planned integrated casino resort will create some 5,000 temporary construction jobs alongside about 4,000 permanent positions and generate around $1 billion in annual economic benefits for Virginia.
“The Pamunkey [Indian Tribe] believes that this resort will help ensure the long-term success of the tribe and be a tremendous economic driver for the Commonwealth,” Gray reportedly told The Washington Post. “Done the right way, it can be a win-win for both. I believe that as people learn more about our plans they will become just as excited as we are about it.”