The casino issue in Norfolk is a complex and contentious topic in the Virginia waterfront city. This made the Norfolk City Council to form the Mayor’s Committee on Gaming to “educate the impact” a proposed $700 million integrated casino resort would have on the area. The committee will be made up of 11 members, and will hold town halls.

Council member Andria McClellan, who was the lone “No” city council vote against its 7-1 decision in September to sell 13.25 acres of city-owned land, said she didn’t know about the gaming group until the meeting began on Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed that this is the first time that I’m seeing this,” McClellan said. “I’m not sure why we didn’t discuss this previously.”

Mayor Kenny Alexander refuted her claims, saying, “The resolution was in everyone’s folder. Everyone received it at the same time.”

In March Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) signed legislation that allows a casino in the cities of Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth,
Richmond, and Norfolk. During Tuesday’s meeting, citizens for an Informed Norfolk submitted a petition signed by 3,400 residents to the council. The petition forces the council to reconsider its decision to sell the land. According to, two public hearings on the matter are scheduled for December 16 and December 19, both at 6 p.m. at Granby High School and Lake Taylor High School.

“It is worth noting that many of the JLARC figures cited by Ms. McClellan are conservative projections and based on commercial operators, while the Tribe is going to operate their resort and casino in a manner differently than how commercial operators will. An example of that are salaries, where our employees can anticipate making more at a tribal casino than they would at a commercial casino,” Smith declared.