Harbor Park Casino at the Tap in Norfolk

A Harbor Park Casino is on tap for home Norfolk tides (Triple-A; International League), as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe seeks to set up a temporary facility until a permanent arcade is built.

It’s not a done deal, but the proposal has advanced to the point where it has been approved by the city’s Planning Commission. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has applied to the city for a two-year conditional use permit for the temporary space until HeadWaters Resort and Casino opens. Being located on 13 acres next to the baseball stadium. the $500 million development is slated to open in two years, but the temporary facility is designed to introduce gambling to the region.

The temporary casino will be housed in an unused restaurant as well as a grandstand used by the city’s boxing gym and training program, with 625 slot machines and an upgraded restaurant already in Harbor Park. The installation would take place at a time of change for the ballpark: the tides and the city are discussing a new lease for the 30-year ballpark, which will come with stadium renovations.

Although we have seen many MLB teams seek gaming/sports betting spaces in or near baseball stadiums, we haven’t seen the same opportunities at the minor league level, with physical ties between casinos and baseball diamonds being strongly discouraged. (Indeed, several MiLB owners we spoke with were surprised that this plan was approved.) Technically, there will be no access to the ballpark from the casino, although the restaurant is technically part of it. Harbor Park: Guests will have a view of the game, but will need to leave the casino and walk to the stadium gates to watch a game.

The proposal still needs to be approved by Norfolk City Council and the Virginia Lottery Commission.

About Kevin Reichard

Kevin Reichard is the founder and publisher of Ballpark Digest.

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