Virginia is on the brink of entering a new era by legalizing casino gambling in the state. That would be a huge step forward for this state as it could bring many new potential streams of revenue and attract thousands of tourists.
Last Saturday, the General Assembly approved a gambling bill which allows the construction of casinos in a couple of areas in Virginia. There’s only one thing that is left before the construction can begin, and that is the signature of the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam.
That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the governor, as he already stated that he was willing to sign everything needed for the construction to begin. In other words, if he didn’t change his mind in the past couple of days (which is highly unlikely), it seems that Virginia is about to legalize gambling and begin building casinos. The reason why the governor supported this bill was his intention to create more income, and, above all, more jobs for the people of Virginia, especially in those areas of the state that are currently suffering from huge deficits.
The bill is called Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 1126, and it did not have trouble making it through both the House and Senate. According to this bill, casinos are going to be built in Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth. However, these three cities would still have to approve building the casinos on their land, and it seems that the residents of those cities are going to decide whether they are ready to accept a casino. Furthermore, according to the bill, two additional places can be included for building casinos—Norfolk and Richmond—which are mainly targeted by Pamunkey Indians who want to build tribal casinos in those areas.
Virginia Is One Step Away from Building Casinos
Virginia has had its ups and downs when it comes to gambling, as there were many attempts to offer a gambling market, but none actually succeeding as much as SSB 1126. In other words, it seems that they have made huge progress since all the previous attempts have failed. However, before everything is approved, the Legislative Audit and Review Commission of Virginia will have to conduct a couple of studies which are related to possible impacts on society and economy that casinos could have in this state. The latest findings are expected to be published by November 1, which is the time when the whole thing can move forward.
The Virginia Lottery Board will be the body responsible for rules and regulations in the casinos of this state. They are expected to begin working on the rules by January 1, 2020, and present them by June 30, 2020. A day after that, the board is expected to meet and decide who would get the licenses for building and operating the future casinos of Virginia. When it comes to the taxes proposed by the bill, it seems that Virginia would take 13-15% of the total gambling revenue.
Finally, the bill also introduced the self-exclusion program for the people who show signs of addictive behavior. They will be able to pull themselves away with this program, which would help them overcome their problem.
One could argue that Virginia is very close to hosting a couple of casinos, but there are these extra steps that need to be taken so that they can be completely approved by everyone. However, it seems that this time they are about to succeed in their effort. Having casinos in the state is sure to boost the economy and attract many new people, which will help the tourism market. There’s no set timeline for when the potential new casinos might be open for business, but there’s sure to be a push to get them built quickly so that the state can begin capitalizing on them.