Various officials have been working hard to get a casino built in the city of Richmond Virginia for more than a year. These plans have been shot down by voters already, yet certain city officials are not giving up. A group of bipartisan lawmakers in the state is now working to kill the second casino referendum in Richmond.
This has been one of the most focused efforts to open a casino in recent history. Those pushing to get this gambling property approved will not give up without a fight.
Here’s what you need to know about this situation.
Lawmakers Work to Shut Down the Second Casino Referendum in Richmond
Virginia’s history of intense gambling regulation goes back decades. In recent years, lawmakers in the state have softened their stance towards most forms of gambling. A measure to allow five casinos in the state was approved in 2020.
Shortly after the passing of this bill, various groups pushed to get a casino-resort constructed in Richmond. It eventually came down to a vote and residents in the city rejected these casino plans. Certain city officials felt this vote was unfair and have once again presented plans to get a casino built in Richmond.
Various lawmakers are now fed up. New reports came out this week claiming a group of bipartisan state officials is now working to block the second casino referendum in Richmond. A Virginia Senate subcommittee agreed to move a bill presented by Senator Joe Morrissey into the General Laws and Technology Committee. This bill would shut down this second casino referendum and instead allows for a casino to open in Petersburg.
“The people spoke. Over 1,500 was a margin, not a great one, but 1,500 said no they do not want the casino,” Joe Morrissey said. “So we pivoted to Petersburg… But now they want a do-over and essentially it says ‘well, we lost, let’s have a do-over.’ And if they lose again, how about another do-over and another one. That’s not the way the democratic process works.”
It’s not much of a shock to see lawmakers pushing against this second casino referendum. It is almost unprecedented for multiple referendums like this one moving forward. We’ll be sure to offer updates on this situation over the next few months.
Virginia’s Sports Betting Industry is Already Thriving
The state of Virginia has been home to legal sports betting options since January of 2021. Both land-based and online sportsbooks are up and running in the state. The sportsbooks here thrived throughout the past year and most experts predict a hugely successful year in 2022.
Sports gambling revenue surged in Virginia throughout the past year. The final few months of the year, in particular, were very successful for the state’s sportsbooks. NFL betting brought in a huge amount of wagers and has continued through this January.
Several bills have recently been presented in Virginia that have the potential to seriously shake up the state’s betting industry. One bill, called HB 1103, would prohibit sports betting operators from excluding promotions and bonuses from their taxable revenue. This would require these companies to pay significantly more taxes.
Another bill called SB 576 would allow for college sports betting in Virginia. Proponents of the bill believe the state is missing out on a huge amount of tax revenue by prohibiting college sports betting. Others are already pushing against this bill, claiming it would jeopardize the integrity of college sports.
A lot is changing within Virginia’s gambling industry. The second casino referendum in Richmond is facing backlash, yet many state officials want to expand the state’s sports betting options. All signs point to a very interesting year for the gambling operators in the state.
More East Coast States Look to Expand Their Sports Betting Industries
Virginia is not the only state on the East Coast to recently start regulating sports betting. A huge number of states in this area have fully embraced sports gambling. This industry is bringing in a massive amount of tax revenue every single year.
Several more states on the East Coast are expected to begin regulating sports betting this year. That includes Massachusetts. The Senate narrowly missed approving a sports betting bill last year and there is now bipartisan support to legalize this form of gambling in 2022.
South Carolina may choose to start allowing sports betting this year, too. Several nearby states including North Carolina and Tennessee have legal sportsbooks up and running. A growing number of lawmakers in South Carolina support sports betting legislation and are likely to approve a sports gambling bill before the end of the year.
Many of these states are expected to embrace casino gambling in the future, too. New casinos are already opening in various states around the country. Stay tuned for updates on the opening of new casinos as the year goes on.
Do you expect the second casino referendum in Richmond to get shut down? Will a casino open in Petersburg anytime soon? Let us know in the comments section below.