DANVILLE, Va. – Danville voters delivered a big win for Caesars Entertainment’s planned casino on Election Day.
The proposal for a Caesars gaming and entertainment complex at the former Dan River Mills Schoolfield site passed with more than two-thirds of the vote. The company aims to break ground on the $400 million project next year with a scheduled opening date of 2023.
Former Caesars CEO Tony Rodio, who is advising the company on the Danville project, said he’s elated to become part of the Danville community.
“We want to make everybody proud, not just the 70 percent. who voted for us," Rodio said. "I think 20 years from now, you’re looking at something that encompasses almost that entire site.”
Caesars claims the casino and entertainment complex will create 1,300 jobs in Danville and $34 million per year in tax revenue for the city.
“We think of this as a regional destination, and there’s millions of people within a few hours' drive," Rodio said.
Schoolfield has been largely abandoned since Dan River, Inc. shut down in 2006, but the remaining business owners nearby believe the development is a safe bet for their neighborhood.
“2023 can’t come soon enough," said John Mason, who owns the Foxglove boutique shop across Main Street from the planned casino site. “The hotels, the bars, the restaurants. It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved.”
Caesars confirmed the casino will also have a sportsbook for betting on games.
Rodio said Caesars will spend the next few months finalizing the casino’s design, but he can not wait until the project is finished in three years.
“This next phase is going to be purely fun," Rodio said. "When we cut that ribbon, that will be the culmination of everything.”