The US gambling market is growing every single year. This applies particularly to Virginia, which has been largely anti-gambling over the past few decades. Casino gambling in Virginia is more popular than ever before, thanks largely to small slot machine gambling venues spreading around the state.
Fans of casino gaming here love having the option to place wagers legally. Today, we’re looking at why Virginia has begun to allow casino gambling. We’ll also talk about the future of this state’s gambling market. Let’s get into it!
History of Virginia’s Casino Laws
Virginia has never been known as a gambling-friendly state. For many years, almost all forms of gambling were completely banned here. In 1973, lawmakers in the state began to allow “charitable gambling.”
In 1987, Virginia approved a state lottery. Two years later, the state began allowing pari-mutuel betting, overseen by the Virginia Racing Commission. A push for legal casino gambling establishments started in 1995, yet it failed to make it past the legislative committee.
Gambling proponents here wanted to legalize riverboat casinos. Unfortunately, the state government felt the negative impact of casinos is greater than the potential for revenue gains. For years, all attempts to make full-scale casino gambling in Virginia legal failed to gain any traction.
This finally ended in 2019. Earlier this year, Substitute Senate Bill 1126 was approved by the state’s General Assembly. Almost immediately, casino-style gambling establishments began opening around the state.
It’s important to note that in 2018, lawmakers here approved limited gaming venues to begin operating. Under the current set of laws, these establishments can only run in communities where pari-mutuel gambling is approved by the public.
Casino Gambling in Virginia Growing Quicker Than Expected
Bill 1126 still needs to be reviewed and approved by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. Once this is done, casinos can begin to operate in certain cities with approval from public voters. That isn’t stopping casino companies from getting their foot in the door.
The Bristol Resort & Casino is awaiting approval to begin operating in Virginia. It will very likely be the first fully-operating casino venue in Virginia.
Since the 2018 limited casino gaming bill was approved, a number small gambling venues have begun opening up. Rosie’s, a major slots-style gambling company, has already opened these gaming halls in Richmond, New Kent, and Vinton. A fourth slot gambling venue is opening up in October in Hampton Roads.
Rosie’s has the ability to open ten of these gambling establishments throughout Virginia. Some feel that this company has a major advantage heading into full-scale casino legalization. Governor Ralph Northan doesn’t believe this is the case.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a head start,” he said. They are doing very well. We just want to make sure — as we move forward with casinos, with gambling in the commonwealth of Virginia — that we do it responsibly. As governor, that’s a priority of mine.”
Bristol Resort & Casino Still Waiting to Break Into Virginia’s Market
Rosie’s has clearly been the first gaming company to break into this state’s gambling industry. As you might expect, a huge number of others are working to enter, as well. Bristol Resort & Casino is still waiting on approval to begin construction.
The Bristol Mall proposed a brand new $250 million casino-resort. It’s the first company to set clear plans for a major casino and resort in the state. This isn’t the only group working to offer casino gambling in Virginia, though.
The Pamunkey Native American Tribe is also working hard to enter this new market. Not long ago, the tribe went public with plans for a $700 million casino-resort. An exact site for this casino has not been chosen, yet tribal leaders claim it could be constructed in a 600-acre area of New Kent.
Virginia may soon become the next US gambling hotbed. If the success of Rosie’s chain is any indication, casinos operating here will have no trouble bringing in players. Make sure to stay tuned for updates to Virginia’s casino laws as they come out!