Governor Northam Amends Virginia’s Casino Legislation

For years, lawmakers in Virginia have been pushing to expand the state’s gambling industry. The legalization of casinos, they argue, would help to bring the state millions in additional revenue every single year. Unfortunately, Governor Northam has amended Virginia’s casino legislation and it’s unclear when casinos will be able to operate here.

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It’s disappointing news for gambling fans in this state. Today, we’re going to discuss when casinos may finally be able to operate here. We’ll also look at how other state’s casino industries are faring right now.

Let’s get into it!

Virginia’s Road to Casino Legalization

Virginia is one of the few states in the country that does not currently allow casino gambling. It wasn’t always this way, though. Many decades ago, this state had a large and successful gambling industry. Today, however, almost no legal forms of wagering are allowed here.

The first attempts to legalize casinos here appeared in the mid-90s. None of these early attempts made it to the Senate. That hasn’t stopped proponents of this industry from trying, though.

Recently, another major push to allow casinos has been taking place. This time, it appears things may actually be successful. Two different bills are being considered here to officially allow casinos in five different cities.

In February, news broke that lawmakers had advanced these bills. Several anti-gambling groups began voicing their concerns, claiming it would lead to higher rates of crime and gambling addiction. Despite these claims, state leaders seemed to be embracing the land-based casino industry.

Things are being delayed once again. News is now coming out that the Governor is amending the policy to allow casinos to start operating. Here’s what we know about this situation.

Governor Decides to Amend Virginia’s Casino Legislation

Allowing land-based casinos to operate in Virginia was never going to be easy. Completely new laws had to be introduced. This week, Governor Ralph Northam decided to delay things a little bit to ensure the money earned from legal casinos goes to the right place.

Governor Northam is now proposing an amendment that would use casino revenue to fund public school construction. Carter Hutchinson, deputy policy advisor for the Governor, recently spoke about the situation to the media.

“The governor is going to amend that provision of the bill that says roughly two-thirds of the [tax] revenue goes to the general fund,” he said. “He is going to amend that language to designate the funding go to school construction, renovation and repairs. The language is going to be relatively broad given the revenue from the casinos won’t start coming in for at least a couple years, probably more.”

Lawmakers in Virginia will meet once again on April 22nd to further discuss Virginia’s casino legislation. At this time, a decision will be made on whether or not to officially approve the new bills.

A 2019 study concluded that legalized casinos could bring Virginia $900 million within five years. A casino in Bristol could bring the state $15 million annually.

We’ll need to wait and see how things go later this month.

US Casino Industry Remains Shut Down

It’s an unusual time for Virginia to consider allowing land-based casinos. As most are well-aware, almost all land-based casinos in the state are completely shut down due to Covid-19. It’s unclear when this will change.

It’s a difficult situation. Health experts believe that casinos pose a serious risk for infection spread. Because of this, some feel it may be months before any land-based gaming venues are able to open again.

The casino shutdown has been seriously damaging for several states. Nevada, in particular, is losing out on an enormous amount of revenue right now. Several major casino operators in Las Vegas are losing millions of dollars every single day due to these regulations.

Atlantic City is beginning to suffer, as well. A recent report claims the city may begin losing $500 million every month. Unless things change, it will be extremely difficult for many casino companies to continue operations here.

Virginia’s casino legislation may soon be approved. It will be interesting to see how the new coronavirus affects these plans.

Stay tuned for more Virginia casino news over the next few weeks!