Caesars Entertainment announced on Wednesday that when it breaks ground this week for its planned Caesars Virginia casino in Danville, Va., it will do so with a partner in the $650 million development project.
ECBI Holdings, a commercial gaming and hospitality-based holding company established by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI), has officially signed on as an investor in the project.
A local investor, unnamed in Caesars announcement, also owns a stake in the project. The announcement also did not mention how much EBCI Holdings was contributing to the development.
Danville, located on the North Carolina state line, is 40 miles north of Greensboro, NC, and 50 miles north of Durham, NC.
Some work on the project has already started as crews have begun demolition work on buildings that were part of a textile mill. Caesars is keeping three signature smokestacks that were part of the historic mill complex and plan to incorporate them as a design element of the casino resort slated to open in late 2024.
“Caesars’ diverse collection of destinations across the U.S. is synonymous with unparalleled service, impressive benefits through our Caesars Rewards loyalty program, superstar entertainment talent and culinary excellence,” Caesars President and COO Anthony Carano said in a statement. “We will bring these same phenomenal offerings to the Danville region for people to enjoy.”
Caesars, EBCI Longtime Gaming Partners
ECBI’s involvement was not necessarily a surprise. Tribal leaders had discussed the possibility of joining with Caesars on a project as far back as late 2020.
The partnership between Caesars and EBCI dates extends more than 20 years as the Las Vegas-based gaming company operates two Harrah’s casinos for the North Carolina-based tribe.
In addition, EBCI Holdings purchased Caesars Southern Indiana from the company in December 2020 for $250 million. As part of the agreement, Caesars allowed the company to keep the name through a long-term licensing agreement.
Tribal leaders took that step after the Catawba Nation started work on a tribal casino in Kings Mountain, NC. Concerned that that casino may cut into the revenue the two Harrah’s casinos generated for the tribe, they created EBCI Holdings to operate casinos and other developments.
This venture is a vital opportunity for our nation and our people,” EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed said in a statement. “We are excited to be expanding our longstanding and successful partnership with Caesars Entertainment to develop a first-class resort that will be defined by luxury and service that Caesars’ guests have known and come to expect.”
Besides investing in casino properties, EBCI Holdings also has established a gaming tech-focused venture capital fund.
Previously, the Cherokees proposed building a casino in Bristol, Va., but that venture was rejected by local officials, who preferred a plan involving Hard Rock International. The Hard Rock project became the first in Virginia to open a temporary casino last month.
About Caesars Virginia
According to the Caesars release, Caesars Virginia will include more than 1,300 slot machines, 85 live table games, and 24 electronic table games. A retail sportsbook and a World Series of Poker-themed poker room are also in the plans.
The project also includes a 500-room hotel, a spa, a 2,500-seat entertainment complex, and 40,000 square feet of convention and conference space.
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