Bill to Allow Commercial Casinos in Virginia is Making Progress

The gambling industry is one of the hottest topics for lawmakers in Virginia. Many officials here want to see the state expand its number of legal gambling options. This week, a bill to allow commercial casinos in Virginia advanced through a Senate sub-committee.Virginia Sign

This is a huge win for gambling fans and proponents throughout the state. It seems likely that these commercial gambling venues will be approved in 2020.  Today, we’re going to look at the state’s current casino laws, and discuss how they might change this year.

Virginia’s Current Gambling Laws, Explained

Virginia is home to more than 8 million people. Over the past couple of years, more residents here have begun pushing to change the state’s gambling laws. Virginia is known for its hardline stance towards the gambling industry, with almost no legal gaming options available right now.

This includes casino gambling. Virginia is one of the states which does not currently allow any tribal or commercial casinos. This wasn’t always the case, though. In the 1800s, Virginia was home to several major gambling venues.

These were eventually shut down in the early 1900s. Almost all forms of gambling remained illegal here throughout the 20th century. In 1987, Virginia finally legalized a state lottery. Eight years later, lawmakers began pushing to allow riverboat casinos. Unfortunately, this was shot down in the Senate committee.

Another attempt to legalize river casinos was made in 2013. Once again, these plans were quickly shut down. There are several online casinos available in VA, yet none are regulated by the state.

Finally, it appears officials here are open to allowing some gambling venues. A bill to allow commercial casinos was introduced in November of 2019. This week, it was approved by the state Senate sub-committee.

Commercial Casinos in Virginia May Soon Become Legal

The US gambling industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. More states are beginning to realize how lucrative legal casino gambling and sports betting can be. It seems this is the case in Virginia. Lawmakers here are finally beginning to embrace the idea of legal casinos.

This week, the Senate General Laws and Technology Subcommittee on Gaming officially approved the recent bill to legalize commercial casinos in Virginia. This bill is a continuation of another bill, called SB 1126, that called for a study on the impact that casinos would have on Virginia.

State officials are beginning to sign-off on this new legislation. Residents in the state will need to approve new casino proposals before any of these venues can be built. A majority of voters are needed to approve the new plans.

Most agree that Virginia’s casino industry will be successful. There are already several cities here that claim to be interested in opening one of these venues.

Conservative groups continue to raise concerns over this new bill. Fortunately, there are enough statistics available that prove how valuable these venues may be to the state. It seems as if we already know where some of these casinos will open.

Five Virginia Cities May Soon Open Casinos

There are still several steps that need to be taken before the bill to allow commercial casinos in Virginia is approved. Interestingly, there are several states where lawmakers want to see these venues open. Each one is struggling financially and would benefit from the extra revenue obtained through the gambling industry.

For now, Richmond, Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk have all qualified to open a casino.

Some of Virginia’s top lawmakers are still reviewing ways to regulate the new casino market. As of now, the Virginia Lottery is being tasked with monitoring these venues. Gaming revenue will be taxed at 27%.

Native American casinos may eventually be allowed here, as well. Recently, the Pamunkey Tribe has requested permission to operate a new casino in Norfolk and Richmond. These plans have not yet been approved.

It seems like commercial casinos in Virginia are on their way. Perhaps in time, every state in the country will allow traditional casino gambling. Stay tuned for more updates on this situation over the next few months!

Virginia Lawmakers Take Steps to Legalize Casinos in the State

Wavy Flag for State of Virginia
On Tuesday, a senate committee advanced legislation that would allow voters across five key Virginia cities to hold local referendums to approve casinos. Voter approval will be key before the state can proceed forward with any more momentum to legalize casinos.

Those southern cities include Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Currently, Virginia is one of the few states that disallow casinos of any kind in the state. However, the state has been moving toward casino legalization within the last few years, after decades of opposing it.

The Case for Legalization

The biggest sponsor for casino legislation in the state has been Democratic Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth. He’s adamantly advocated for the people of Virginia to be given the opportunity to determine their own destiny, calling the legalization of casinos a “no-brainer.”

“It’s been 25 years coming!” said Lucas during the first baby steps the Senate committee took last June in favor of getting this bill passed.

Those in favor of legalization argue that large-scale resorts that include casinos will boost the economy, creating new employment opportunities by the amount of jobs that will be generated as a result, as well effectively increasing tax revenues.

In a report recently released by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, it found that resort-style casinos located in Virginia’s aforementioned southern cities could generate around $260 million annually in new state gaming taxes, and create around 5,000 jobs.

The Case Against Legalization

Conservative groups aren’t optimistic over the benefits legalized casinos could provide to the state, arguing that it will instead create increased issues, such as high rates of people suffering from gambling addictions, along with higher crime rates.

These groups have also warned lawmakers that wealthy developers will be the ones who benefit from the news casinos, not the state’s poor.

It appears the conservative influence on the state has recently started to fizzle out, with the democratic win of the General Assembly majority back in November. It’s the first time democrats have won a majority in the state in over 20 years. The reason for the recent advancement in legislation can be seen as a direct result of GOP leaders losing their influencing power in keeping legislation at a standstill.

Keeping Casinos in the Southern Part of the State

The decision to focus on Virginia’s southern cities as possible casino locations has to do with lawmakers lack of enthusiasm that a casino could do as well in Northern Virginia. This has to do with the fact that MGM Resorts International $1.4 billion resort and casino recently opened in Maryland, a hop, skip, and a jump away from nearby Virginia.

Located across the Potomac River, just outside of Washington DC, MGM National Harbor has the current monopoly in the area. It boasts having a gaming floor “bigger than the White House,” over 300 luxury rooms, and a 3,000-seat theater.

What Comes Next?

Quiet negotiations are currently taking place with regards to legislation, discussing important key points such as the number of casinos the state will allow, and who will be appointed to run them. Jim McGlothlin, a wealthy coal industrialist who is planning to build a Hard Rock casino and resort in Bristol, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, who have their sights set on casinos in Richmond and Norfolk, are major contenders as far as potential casino owners go.

Martin Kent, CEO of The United Company, is also looking to have a casino in Bristol. He said this in regard to the legislation surrounding making that happen:

“Even in Virginia, there’s a lot of confusion about what happened last year. I think it’s best probably summed up this way: Any major issue that Virginia, its legislature, is looking to pass will oftentimes go through a re-enactment provision.”

Other key topics in Virginia’s legislature this year are the gambling issues that may arise with legalized casinos, as well as determining whether to legalize online sports betting and/or ban betting machines in convenience stores across the state.

Slot machines in Virginia’s convenience stores fell under a legally gray area in a state that’s been generally opposed to gambling. Since it was argued that a game that involves skill rather than chance is otherwise legal, it allowed for the implementation of slot machines to be overlooked during that time.

Hard Rock May Operate a Casino in Bristol, VA

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Virginia officially approved a plan to expand the state’s gambling industry. Almost immediately afterward, many of the top US casino companies began pushing to open a casino here. News has just come out that Hard Rock International may soon operate a casino in Bristol, VA.Hard Rock Logo

Virginia could establish a strong casino market on the East Coast. Having Hard Rock running casinos here is a great first step. Here’s what we know about these plans.

Virginia Allows More Casinos to Open Up

Virginia isn’t necessarily thought of as a gambling-friendly state. It’s unfortunate, as many lawmakers have continued to push for the legalization of casinos here. The first real attempts came in 1995 when state officials began pushing to open riverboat casinos.

These efforts were all unsuccessful. Another push to open these gambling venues came in 2013. Once again, no bills managed to make it onto the casino floor. Officials tried to convince state politicians that Virginians are gambling in Maryland, which is benefiting the most through taxes.

Finally, things took a turn. In March, legislators in Virginia approved a bill to allow commercial casinos in the state. Several cities are now lobbying to gain approval to open a casino.

Bristol is one city that’s ready to welcome a gambling venue. Randy Eads, city manager of Bristol, commented on the idea of opening a casino to the media this week.

“I cannot think of a better place for Hard Rock Casino to be than here in Bristol, Virginia,” Eads said. “Hard Rock is synonymous with music. With our storied history of music here in Bristol, to have a new partner aligned with the music industry like Hard Rock is, I cannot think of a more exciting time to be in the city of Bristol.”

Hard Rock is Open to Running a Casino in Bristol, VA

Hard Rock International is one of the fastest-growing casino companies in the US. The Seminole Tribe-owned company now has casinos in many states including Nevada, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, among others. It seems that Hard Rock is now open to running the proposed casino in Bristol, VA.

Proponents of this casino recently met with officials at Hard Rock International. According to reports, this meeting was successful.

“Hard Rock’s iconic brand speaks to its deep roots in live music entertainment and world-class memorabilia collection, which will play a prominent role at Hard Rock Casino Bristol. This focus on music will complement our region’s country music heritage and dynamic music scene in the Twin City,” said Jim McGlothlin, CEO of The United Company and a co-partner on the Bristol resort and casino development.

At the same time, Hard Rock is investing $300 million into a new land-based casino in Gary, Indiana. The company is also preparing to open a gambling venue in Rockford, Illinois.

The casino in Bristol, VA, has not been officially approved. It seems likely that state officials will give it the green light within the next few months. It’s an exciting time for gambling fans in this state.

Virginia Isn’t Quite Ready to Legalize Sports Betting

Lawmakers in Virginia are just beginning to embrace the gambling industry. Unfortunately, they don’t seem ready to start regulating sports betting. A bill was presented here that would legalize this form of wagering, yet it hasn’t made much progress in the state legislature.

This is frustrating for many individuals who believe the state would benefit massively from the legalization of this industry. Today, 20 states have officially legalized sports gambling. Most of them are earning millions of dollars every month by taxing this industry.

There’s a chance that sports betting in Virginia could be legalized in 2020, though. House Bill 4 is currently being reviewed by state lawmakers. Specific details of this bill are being withheld.

In order for it to be legalized, cities would need to officially approve this bill. Voters will also need to approve the legalization of sports betting on the 2020 ballot.

Stay tuned for more news on the casino in Bristol, VA over the next few months!

Officials Raise Concerns About New Casino in Norfolk, VA

For years, the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia has discussed plans to open a casino. Recently, the tribe agreed to pay $10 million for a plot of land in Norfolk, where the proposed casino will be constructed. This week, several Virginia city officials raised their concerns over the plans to construct a new casino in Norfolk.

Virginia Sign

There are still several steps the Pamunkey Tribe needs to take before this casino will be approved. Today, we’re going to look at what we know about these casino plans so far. We’ll also look at why officials are hesitant to approve the plans.

Pamunkey Tribe Eager to Open Their First Casino

The Pamunkey Tribe is one of 11 Virginia Native American tribes. It’s the first federally-recognized tribe in the state. For years, heads of this tribe have pushed hard to open a casino venue. Unfortunately, Virginia has a restrictive set of gambling laws that bans full-scale casinos from operating.

Interestingly, the state does allow certain forms of casino-style games. Today, there are several gambling venues in Virginia that offer electronic slot-style games. These machines have grown extremely popular in the state and have generated major revenue.

Earlier this year, several Virginia lawmakers presented a new bill to significantly expand the state’s gambling operations. If approved, traditional casino games such as table games and slot machines will be fully legalized. It will be until 2021 until these plans are officially set into law.

That isn’t stopping the Pamunkey Tribe from working to have casino plans approved. Earlier this month, the tribe agreed to pay $10 million for a plot of waterfront land in Norfolk. The tribe has also presented plans to construct a massive $700 million casino-resort in this city.

Unfortunately, several city officials are raising their concerns with a new casino in Norfolk opening its doors.

Councilmembers Weigh Pros and Cons of New Casino in Norfolk

For many, the idea of a fully-operating casino in Norfolk is extremely exciting. It’s clear that a casino would help to generate revenue earnings for the city. Others worry about the impact it will have on emergency services, local businesses, and crime.

In an official city meeting on Monday, councilmember Andria McClellan raised several questions. She wants to know exactly how much the city will receive in tax revenue. She’s also pointing out the fact that no study has been conducted on exactly how much money a casino here will generate, and what the impact will be on city residents.

Several studies on these matters are being conducted, yet the results will not become available until after the council votes on whether or not to approve the tribe’s purchase of the land tonight. Councilman Tommy Smigiel states that the council is taking this decision very seriously. He’s taking public opinion into account.

Many Norfolk residents are unhappy with the decision to open a casino in the city. Civic League secretary Lorraine Connaughton believes the public simply doesn’t have enough information to make a decision.

“It really came across as people were skeptical … and that they were being railroaded on a deal that they quite frankly don’t have enough information on,” she said. 

We’ll need to wait and see how the city council decides to approach the plans to construct a new casino in Norfolk.

Gambling Options Available in Virginia Right Now

As we mentioned earlier, Virginia has a set of restrictive laws towards the gambling industry. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to play your favorite casino games in this state. Today, there are several fantastic VA online casinos that are available to residents. Most of them offer a huge range of different gambling options.

Lawmakers in Virginia have not yet taken steps to regulate the online casino industry. Unlike several states such as Delaware and New Jersey, Virginia has set no direct laws on internet casino sites. Interestingly, more people in Virginia are choosing to play at US casino sites every month.

The state of Virginia appears very close to allowing traditional land-based casinos. Before long, lawmakers here may also choose to regulate internet casinos. States with state-regulated online casino platforms are earning millions of dollars a month by taxing these websites’ earnings.

Over the next few months, we’ll see whether or not the new casino in Norfolk will be approved. Perhaps in time, several brick and mortar casinos will begin opening around the state.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Virginia casino news!

Casino Gambling in Virginia Growing More Popular

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.Virginia Sign

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!