Norfolk Casino Now Has A Formal Name: HeadWaters Resort & Casino

Posted on May 4, 2021

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe finally has a name for its waterfront Norfolk casino: HeadWaters Resort & Casino.

Pamunkey Indian Tribe officials recently announced the name for the estimated $500 million resort and casino.

On Election Day this past November, Norfolk voters overwhelmingly supported a casino referendum. It was one of four cities that formally approved the construction of a casino-resort in Virginia.

However, it was the only one without a formal name. Until now, anyway.

HeadWaters Resort & Casino now has a branded website and Facebook page.

The meaning behind HeadWaters Resort & Casino

How did the tribe settle on the name of HeadWaters Resort & Casino? According to the official announcement, the Pamunkeys wanted to pay tribute to the area’s geography.

Norfolk, after all, is a sprawling water world where the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay meet. The area is rich with riverfront and beaches. It also includes Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world.

As the HeadWaters Resort & Casino announcement stated:

“While headwaters represent the beginning of a river, the name ‘HeadWaters’ represents the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the Pamunkey Tribe and Norfolk. The name is also a nod to the importance that rivers have played in the Tribe’s and the City’s history.”

The HeadWaters Resort & Casino’s logo also has a water theme and two shades of blue as its primary branding colors. A feather also pays tribute to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which is the first federally recognized tribe in Virginia.

And sure, it’s just a name. But for the tribe, it’s a big step forward on a major project that’s expected to open in 2023.

“Excitement is building, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the name,” Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief Robert Gray stated. “There’s just something about having a name that makes it feel more real. I’m confident that HeadWaters Resort & Casino will exceed even the highest of expectations and will make Norfolk proud.”

The Tribe’s commitment to the Elizabeth River

The river theme will be persistent throughout the resort once it’s completed. HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk will feature, among other attractions:

  • 300+ hotel rooms with panoramic views of the river and Harbor Park
  • Waterside infinity pool
  • Luxury spa
  • Sports bar and grill and steakhouse
  • Multi-purpose event center and rooftop outdoor event space
  • Rooftop bar
  • Gaming floor with slots, table games, sportsbook, and more

The tribe also plans to “redefine” the Elizabeth River waterfront with the HeadWaters Marina. The riverfront marina will allow people to travel by boat to the casino or the adjacent Harbor Park. The minor league baseball stadium is home to the Norfolk Tides, which is the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

As part of the project, the Pamunkeys are committing $20 million to shoreline resiliency issues. It will, according to the release “(create) … a vibrant, sustainable living shoreline that will improve the environment along the Elizabeth River as well providing an exciting new natural area for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

The tribe has also pledged significant funds for the continued development of the Elizabeth River Trail, a 10.5-mile trail for bikers and walkers.

According to the Pamunkeys, once the Virginia Lottery approves its casino operator license application, construction will immediately commence on HeadWaters Resort & Casino.

Photo by Courtesy of HeadWaters Casino website
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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