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New Kent neighbors speak out on potential Pamunkey casino

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eliminary rendering of the proposed casino development. (Pamunkey Indian Tribe)

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. — Citizens of New Kent County packed an auditorium Thursday evening to hear county officials discuss a possible casino development being pondered by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, as well as a separate plan to reopen a local horse racing track.

The meeting was held at New Kent County Middle School, prompted largely by the news last month that the Pamunkey had acquired nearly 600 acres in the county for $3 million, and that the tribe may someday look to develop a $700 million resort and casino onsite.

At Thursday’s meeting Thomas Evelyn, chairman of the board of supervisors in New Kent, said no one on the board has talked to anyone with the Pamunkey, nor its financial backers. Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray was not invited to Thursday’s meeting.

Instead, the board of supervisors invited Minnesota-based law firm Foley Quigley, which specializes in Indian land development, to speak about the federal land trust process that would make the land a protected part of the Pamunkey reservation.

During the public comment period, many locals had questions regarding how a development would affect the local economy and what the process would be for approving the Pamunkey’s application.

Others were met with applause as they voiced opposition to a casino, citing bible verses and referring to gambling as sin.

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