Led by economic development and promotion of tourism, Virginia has made progress in making casinos on its territory a reality. Last week, Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill which will enable legalization of casino gambling and maybe even online poker. Even though it’s just a beginning and there is a lot of work to be done, this is a crucial step in the process. In other words, the bill will allow the state Lottery Board to supervise gambling and initiate the procedure of including referendums on ballots.
A study about the fiscal and social influence of legalizing casinos should be finalized by December. Conducting this thorough research will be done by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. Then, the state Lottery Board will have to prepare regulations in the first half of next year. After that, it’s very likely the lawmakers will vote again and give their final decision on the following legislative session.
Even if everything goes according to the plan and the bill gets re-enacted, there are no guarantees casinos will ever see the light of day in Old Dominion. Making that happen means residents in proposed cities will need to allow casinos by voting in favor during referendums.
In January, Northam gave a statement, saying that they want to go by the book when it comes to casino legalization. He further explained that people are going to other states which is the reason why he’s opened for options. Since Virginia has the means, there is no reason not to use them and turn it into a state Virginia revenue. However, in his opinion, it’s of great importance to go through the process the right way.
Virginia Gambling Continues to Evolve
Cities which were given authorization for hosting casinos are Portsmouth, Danville, Bristol, Richmond, and Norfolk. Since they faced some economic challenges, the first three cities seem like a sensible choice for accommodating casino facilities. On the other hand, Richmond and Norfolk are added as potential operations, managed by the Pamunkey, a Virginia native Indian tribe.
For the Bristol project, a sum of $250-million could be available if everything goes as planned. Project backers revealed that they’re still giving their full support during the approval procedure. Even though there is much work to be done, all parties involved are determined to follow through with the process and we can expect them to succeed.
At the moment, there can’t be found many gambling opportunities in Virginia. Up till now, the subject has been avoided, leaving Virginia residents with few gambling options such as pari-mutuel horseracing, charitable gaming, and the state lottery. With the opening of National Harbour by MGM, in Maryland, interest peaked, not allowing another alternative but to commence official proceedings of bringing casinos to Virginia state.
Initially, the bill was for casino gambling solely; however, the change was made to include online gambling and sports betting. Thanks to this inclusion, online poker was added as a game which could eventually be approved by the Lottery Board, though it only remains a possibility.