A conceptual rendering of the Pamunkey Tribe's proposed $700 million casino in Virginia. Image: Pamunkey Tribe

Pamunkey Tribe not invited to local meeting about casino plan

Local officials in Virginia are hosting a town hall to discuss plans for a casino only they haven't invited a key player.

The Pamunkey Tribe isn't on the agenda for the meeting in New Kent County on Thursday, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. That has Chief Robert Gray scratching his head, especially since a law firm with no connection to the project has been invited to talk about the project.

“But that’s their prerogative and we will respect that,” Gray told the paper.

Indianz.Com on Google Maps: Pamunkey Tribe - Homelands and New lands in Virginia

The tribe has made no secret of its gaming dreams. A billionaire developer has already purchased 600 acres in the county for a potential casino, although other sites are being considered.

"We are looking for a world-class operation that brings tourism for Virginia. We hope to become one of the major tourist attractions in Virginia," Gray told WWBT of the $700 million project. "The other factor is we want the revenue we earn to stay in the state."

The tribe's federal recognition became final in 2015, having gone through the Bureau of Indian Affairs for acknowledgment of its status. Opening a casino will require numerous steps, including having land placed in trust.

The tribe also might need to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the state of Virginia, where slot machines and related offerings are not yet considered legal.

The county's meeting on Thursday will be webcast. Two attorneys from Foley Quigley Law -- a firm with experience in "Indian country business & regulatory issues" -- will be providing an overview of the "Proposed Pamunkey Indian Casino Project," according to the agenda.

The county is paying the firm $440 an hour for its services, The Times-Dispatch reported.

Read More on the Story:
New Kent officials are holding a meeting about casinos. The Indian tribe that wants to build one wasn't invited (The Richmond Times-Dispatch May 23, 2018)
Pamunkey chief says proposed casino would bring revenue, jobs for tribe (WWBT May 23, 2018)

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