Caesars Danville Casino, set to open in late-2023, has pushed back launch to 2024. Significant setbacks have resulted in a delayed opening of the casino resort.
Site preparation on the $500 million project at the Dan River Inc. factory property in Schoolfield began in September 2021. The initial plan set a date for demolition of the old buildings and laying of the new foundation in early 2022. And, following two solid years of construction, the schedule set a grand opening sometime in late 2023.
While the Caesars in Danville is delayed, plans for three other Virginia casinos remain in the works.
Significant setbacks delay opening
On May 4, Caesars corporate spokesperson Robert Livingston announced that they “have seen supply chain issues and other market forces that continue to wreak havoc.”
These words should come as a shock to no one. COVID-19 has ground construction projects, big and small, to a halt. Anirban Basu, chief economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), has spoken about the mounting pressure:
“Inflation remains hot, hot, hot. There is effectively no relief in sight for the nation’s contractors.”
On top of supply chain holdups, Livingston pointed to labor shortages. Construction jobs needed nationwide to meet needs are more than 500,000, ABC said. Virginia is in the top 10 for the number of current US construction jobs needed (+165,000). It indicates a strong need for workers here.
Livingston also said some site-specific holdups have slowed down construction on the Caesars site.
“Apparently back in the day, if there was something that needed to be capped off, let’s just pour some concrete down the hole and cap it off, so we’re digging up a lot of concrete on the site.”
The company did not expect to dig up 100 years of concrete at the Schoolfield site. Each of these unanticipated factors have forced Caesars to push back its deadline by about a year.
Danville City officials have been supportive, Councilman Sherman Saunders said.
“They ran into issues that were not expected, but at the same time, these things do happen. The name itself, and the fact that the voters said yes we want you here, and the attention we’re getting because of the name and the investment, I think [justifies] what they’re doing. And with regards to the cost, they’re prepared to meet that cost.”
Caesars will announce an exact opening date when they have more clarity on the setbacks. The groundbreaking is set for late May or early June.
Despite not opening in 2023, Caesars will still make annual settlement payments to the state. Each quarterly payment is $5 million. They begin in 2023.
Of course, one potential way to offset this delay is to legalize Virginia online casinos, but that doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon.