There are no native American casinos here in Virginia, but a Charlottesville company is playing a key role in the operation of 75 casinos out west – and hoping to expand its business here in the Commonwealth.
In 1988 the federal government agreed to let native Americans operate casinos on tribal land, and today there’s a $30 billion market for slot machines there. The opportunity caught the eye of Arthur Watson, CEO of Castle Hill Gaming in Charlottesville.
“We design and develop the machines, and then we lease them to casinos for a share of the revenue,” he explains.
The firm makes over a hundred different games -- Daddy More Bucks, Captain Bacon, Coin Slinger and Mr. Martini to name a few, and now it could hit the jackpot in Virginia with permission to place historic horse racing machines at Colonial Downs and 10 offtrack betting parlors. Alan Roireau is Castle Hill’s Chief Technology Officer:
“We take the past results of historic horse races that have happened in the United States, without telling you any of the names of the horses. We just give you the statistics, and you choose which horses are going to come in which order – win, place or show – and if you’re right then you win.”
With economic incentives from the state and Albemarle County, Watson says, Castle Hill is growing.
“We hope to add 106 jobs over the next three years, however depending on the speed at which the gaming market grows in Virginia we could grow much, much faster.”
That could also be good news for horse racing, with off-track revenue generating 80% of the money that flows to Virginia’s live racing industry.