Danville-Virginia Wants $200-Million-Dollar Casino, Churches Protest

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Danville, Virginia skyline

When a city is told about a company bringing millions of dollars in tax revenue into the economy, it excites them.   In turn, the city pitches the story to the public, citing all the benefits that new money can afford its residents. When talking about certain industries, however,  such as gambling or pharmaceuticals, the view of the business is a lot harder to pitch. This is the case in one Virginia town. The city of Danville has received major push back from local religious leaders who do not want the millions of dollars in benefits if it comes from a casino.

Church Views on Casinos

“It’s a risk to those who are vulnerable,” says  Rev. Meredith Williams. The female reverend, who preaches at Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, has a graduate degree from  Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina.

Williams believes community changes that come from casinos tends to disproportionately affect the people who have the least money to gamble.   To her, the $20-million-dollars in annual tax revenue to be drawn, will not equate to the long term damage. Families and individuals may be lost to the high risk rolling of dice and shuffling of cards.

Danny Campbell, another Danville pastor, also sees the building of a casino in his Virginia hometown as an unwise move.

“Instead of working for money, you’re frittering it away,” said Campbell, calling gambling a personal sin. “There are wiser investments to make that would be of lasting value.”

Politician Views on Casinos

Wise words from the church leaders are still not reaching the politicians however, who have interests in developing the city more. According to them, the tax revenue and tourist growth that would come into town with the casino is more important to focus on.   

One of the improvements city officials are focused on is the need to improve school systems.   If even a low percentage of $20-million-dollars somehow makes it into the education system of Danville, possibly areas of low income could get better tools in the classroom.  Also, the overall school overall environment could be improved to brighten the future of youth.

Earlier, Virginia residents could gamble online at an international outlet like live Casino Malaysia.  Such outlets were outlawed however as internet regulation went into effects and laws were tightened up across the United States eGambling.   So much money was made by such casinos however, politicians of America took notice. States across the USA began lobbying to legalize the business industry that was once reserved for mainly Nevada and a few Native American reservations.

Casino Legalization in Virginia

Legislation that could bring a gambling venue to the state for Lovers was signed in March of this year (2019).   Governor Ralph Northam approved a bill that essentially began a secondary study of casino’s effects on other cities and development of gaming regulations. A complete report is to be presented, possibly to the public, later this year in December.

If all goes as planned by city officials in Danville with this study,  the structure for a lottery board to oversee gaming will be completed.     The three Virginia cities most in need of the tax revenue will then hold a referendum to decide ultimately on allowing a casino.  These locations to receive benefits of the revenues would include Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth.

According to the first analytical report view details here) of the potential move, the Chumra Group cites there is no visible downside to allowing the casino in Danville from initial studies.  Why a secondary study is being requested, is a waste says some city officials. The small cit would not be the first to bet on growth from opening a casino.  

“I’m not sure about the logic of that,” said Danville Mayor Lee Vogler. “Perhaps they want to know if there would be any negative impact on statewide economic development, but our local economic development office has found no negative impact. In fact, 40 other states have test cases, so there’s plenty of data available. I didn’t see any reason to delay.”

One church leader is on the side of the city, kind of.  Father Jonathan Goertz from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church does not oppose a casino being built in the home of his church’s gatherers.   He has concerns but does not think its a religious issue.

“The Catholic Church doesn’t say gambling is intrinsically immoral,” Goertz said Thursday.

His sentiments on the matter go against almost all others who have spoken to local press. The Catholic leaders believe break down into layman’s terms that everyone needs to practice control.   The business isn’t immoral, it is the act of depriving yourself and others of needs because you spend the money on wants.

Conclusion Is Likely, Yes

Through the turmoil of the yays and nays is far from over, it is clear that the $20-million in tax revenues annually for Danville, Bristol, and Portsmouth will be hard to turn away.  So hard, in fact, a casino opening is more likely than not. However, no ‘games’ will be played about the money city officials get from the gambling company it approves to build. According to the Roanoke news company,  the bill passed has ‘fine print’ that requires a minimum capital investment of nearly a quarter-of-a-billion dollars to break ground in the once, major center of the Confederate war.

To put things into a broader perspective, Danville has a total population of about 110,00 people.  Bristol-VA has a population of around 30,000 and Portsmouth has roughly 100k. Rounded up with the idea of undocumented citizens, the total of all 3 cities can be summed up to around 300,000 people.   The initial investment will likely bring $1k in revenue to businesses in the regions, for each person living in it.

Ironic, $666 Per Person In The 3 Virginia Cities

Let’s hope the initial capital investment of the casino will pass $200-million-dollars by far.   If not, they will be giving religious leaders more energy to preach. The initial capital investment of $200-million dollars divided by the estimated 300K people living in Danville and the 2 other beneficiary cities, equates to $666 per person.  It’s actually $666.66 to be exact.

The alleged mark of the beast, based on the initial quote.  It’s highly unlikely a company would only invest the minimum, however.   Casinos tend to generate near $100-million-dollars annually on average in the United States. Therefore they can invest much more to create an attractive environment.   According to Statista.com, US Casinos rake in an estimated $77-billion-dollars annually.

Watch the video below for a visual report on the Danville, Virginia casino news.

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