Danville votes on casino referendum

Stanford Wells and Colby Ringstaff

Recently there has been a huge discussion among Danville and Pittsylvania County residents. That discussion involves whether or not there should be a casino in the city of Danville. Many think it is a great idea, while some oppose the thought of a casino. Both sides have valid points. However, which side is right is really up to the individual. Nevertheless, the vote for the casino will be on the ballot for Danville residents along with the presidential candidates on November 3.

People in favor of the casino see is as a much needed economic boost. Building a casino could be a game changer for the city. “It would bring money, tourism, entertainment and a fresh perspective which is desperately needed,” says Martin Ringstaff, principal of The Hughes Center.

Caesars Entertainment added a guaranteed five million dollars each year in gaming taxes for the city. Ringstaff says, “If the city uses this new source of revenue correctly, they will be able to fund schools, fire departments, police departments and all other essential services at levels never seen before.” 

The following items have been projected according to the Caesars for Danville website

  • Proposed $400 million premier resort and casino to open in 2023
  • 900 construction jobs
  • 1,300 operational jobs
  • 34 million annually in gaming taxes
  • 300 hotel rooms
  • Full service spa, pool, and world-class gaming floor
  • 2,500 seat state of the art live entertainment theater
  • 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space
  • Exciting bars and restaurants

Despite these proposed benefits, to many, the casino has its downfalls. Many people think that it will make the crime rate go up by a great amount. Increased gambling and alcohol consumption are a major concern for many citizens. The increased traffic is also a concern. The casino seems to highlight economic benefits but also include moral disadvantages. Citizens must determine if the advantages outweigh the drawbacks or not. 

Radford University freshman and Danville native Dakota McBride said, “I’m not necessarily for it because of the repercussions that come with it, crime rates, etc. But it also has the potential to bring a lot more jobs to Danville, which is definitely something we need. It would bring more income to the city and lower the unemployment rates.” 

Timberlake Baptist Church youth leader and THS alumni Katie Vipperman said, “I feel the casino would bring the wrong attention and revenue to our city. Those who support the casino advertise that the casino will bring extra jobs and will brighten our city. I have serious fears and concerns that the casino will bring crime and poverty to an already poverty stricken, crime-filled city.” Katie wrote an article about the casino in a class that she previously took. She expressed that she was the only one in her class to be against the idea of a casino. 

With an opportunity like this, there are always going to be mixed views. Those who live in Danville can vote either for or against the casino. Like the presidential election, the outcome is still up in the air and will be decided by voters on Tuesday, November 3. The time has come for voters to decide whether a casino would be positive or negative for our community.