DANVILLE, Va. – For John Mason, part owner of a clothing store across the street from the former Dan River Mills Schoolfield site, feelings about the potential $400 million casino are mixed.
“We use to laugh and say when the buildings came down, we would have riverfront property. But, we’re excited," said Mason. "Hopefully, husbands and wives will come in. Maybe the husbands will go and be entertained at the casino while the wives are shopping.”
Opinions are also mixed among other residents.
“It’ll bring more revenue for the city of Danville and more jobs," Carl Luck said.
“It’s going to bring trouble and someone’s going to suffer and they shouldn’t have to," said John Holt.
Comments on the 10 News Facebook page echo that concern.
Eileen Lau said, “Danville doesn’t need more crime and violence.”
Sonny York said, “Yea(sic) like a casino is going to make a crime ridden town better.”
Mason, however, believes a casino could actually help control crime.
“I understand we do have gang activity and I believe that with the influx of money that’ll help us increase the law enforcement and maybe make it, not necessarily go away, but to really help,” he said.
According to the city’s impact study done in 2019, casinos typically have little negative impact on community services.
In a statement to 10 News, the police department says, in part, "...we are preparing to meet any possible challenges that may come with (a casino.)"
Town halls are expected to be held prior to Election Day in November when Danville residents will vote to either allow or not allow a casino to open.