Virginia is currently one of nine states without either commercial or tribal casinos.
In March 2019 a new casino gaming law was passed by the state general assembly and signed by the governor. It identified five cities as candidates for casinos. See the Proposed Casino Plans.
The Pamunkey tribe has proposed an Indian gaming casino in Richmond. See details
A 2019 study of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) determined the legalization of 5 casino would produce the following results:
$260 million a year would be generated in new tax revenues.
5,000 new jobs would be created.
A sixth casino in Northern Virginia casino would generate an additional $155 million in tax revenues and create an additional 3,200 jobs.
The 2020 legislative session will debate amendments to Bill SB1126 to determine if casino legalization will move forward this year.
In March 2019 a new casino gaming law was passed by the state general assembly and signed by the governor giving voters an opportunity in 2020 to approve or dissapprove a casino in their city.
Five cities are identified as candidates for casinos: Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Richmond and Norfolk. See Proposed Casino Plans.
This law defines casino gaming in Virginia as follows:
"... means baccarat, blackjack, twenty-one, poker, craps, dice, slot machines, sports betting, roulette wheels, Klondike tables, punchboards, faro layouts, keno layouts, numbers tickets, push cards, jar tickets, pull tabs, online gaming, and any other activity that is authorized by the Board as a wagering game or device under Chapter 41 (§ 58.1-4100 et seq.).
The 2020 legislative session will consider and debate Bill SB1126 as the next step towards legalizing casinos.
The Virginia casino gaming bill authorizes the Lottery Board to regulate casino gaming. By December 1, 2019 the board will receive a study of gaming laws in other states prepared by a joint commission of the legislature.
Referendum votes will be scheduled after the Lottery Board receives the study and before January 1, 2021.
Virginia legislation will allow casino gambling in five cities: Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond.
HARD ROCK CASINO BRISTOL
This $150M casino proposal would build a 90,000-square-foot casino, a live concert venue, and a 600-1000 room hotel.
The Danville City Council members voted unanimously Jan 3 to support the state legislators effort to allow casino gambling in Danville.
PAMUNKEY CASINO AND HOTEL
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing a $700M casino and hotel be built on the Norfolk waterfront next to the minor league baseball stadium. An option to buy the land for $10M has been signed with the city.
The Portsmouth casino would be built on the Elizabeth River near the marina on property once occupied by a Holiday Inn.
PAMUNKEY RICHMOND CASINO
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe will seek authorization from the federal government to build a $350 million Indian gaming casino and hotel in South Richmond, Virginia.
It is a 2-3 year process for these casinos to become reality. It requires legislation passed by the General Assembly, the signature of the Governor and approval voted by the residents of each city. The construction would take 12-18 months after voter approval.
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April 12, 2020
Governor Ralph Northam supports the expansion of gaming in Virginia, however, he did not sign the gaming bill sent to him by the legislature. Instead he amended the bill and returned it to the legislature to reconsider.
The key provision amended by the governor was the distribution of gaming revenues received by the state. Instead of designating the income to the Virginia General Fund as prescribed in the bill, the governor wants two-thirds sent to state education programs.
The General Assembly will now reconvene on the issue to complete the bill. If the governor's changes are approved, the bill becomes law. If rejected or no action is taken, the governor will make the final decision by either signing or vetoing the bill.
March 13, 2020
This week the Virginia General Assembly gave its final approvals to a major expansion in state gambling by passing two bills to legalize casinos and sports betting.
SPORTS BETTING BILL
Online sports betting will be legalized for professional sports and college sports excluding Virginia schools. These may become available by end of year.
Permits to operate a sports betting website or app will be limited to 12. This limit does not apply to the casinos or major sport teams in Virginia. Professional teams like the Washington Redskins and others based in the state can also build brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Virginia-based stadiums.
Sports betting will not be included in the "skill games" betting machines that are widely available in convenience stores, truck stops and restaurants.
Pamunkey Indian Tribe plan to build casinos in Richmond and Norfolk.
"After centuries of disenfranchisement and social injustices, the Pamunkey Tribe is on the verge of ensuring the long-term success of the Tribe. Its plans to build two resorts with casinos will allow the Tribe to provide needed programs and services to its members. It will be a great partner for Norfolk and Richmond."
Pamunkey spokesman Jay Smith
Both bills are noW waiting for Gov. Ralph Northam's for signature.
January 17, 2020
Gov. Ralph Northam said he is open to the idea of casino legalization in Virginia, but has not taken a position on Bill SB1126, which must be reenacted by both the House and the Senate in this session. If passed, the governor will make the final decision on whether to sign the legislation into law and legalize casino gambling in the state.
Bill SB1126 was introduced in the 2019 legislative session. It has been amended by both houses and must be reenacted in the 2020 Session of the General Assembly.
The bill will authorize casino gambling in a limited number of cities. The Virginia Lottery Board will license and regulate the casinos. City residents must vote to approve these casinos.
For a full summary of the bill and its amendments, visit SB 1126 Lottery Board; regulation of casino gaming, penalties, report.
January 7, 2020
One of the hot topics for the Virginia legislature in 2020 will be casino gambling. Virginia is currently one of nine states that prohibit casinos.
In March 2019 a casino law was passed by the state general assembly and signed by the governor that will give local voters an opportunity this year to approve or disapprove casinos in five proposed cities: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The legislature also directed a study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to determine the impact of casinos on these communities. The results of the JLARC's report were these:
Casinos would generate $260 million a year in new state gaming taxes.
Casinos would create 5,000 new jobs.
A northern Virginia casino would generate an additional $155 million in state gaming taxes, and create an additional 3,200 jobs.
The Virginia general assembly is caonsidering bill SB1126 in the 2020 session for the next step towards the legalization of casinos. If passed and if residents approve a local casino referendum later this year, the first Virginia casino will open after 12-18 months of construction.
For details on the cities with current casino proposals, read these pages:
March 26, 2019
Governor Ralph Northam signed Senate Bill 1126 into law Friday in an essential step toward authorizing casino gambling in Virginia. The bill had passed the Senate 30-10 and the House 64-33.
The new law is not the final authorization needed to build casinos. The final authorization can only be granted by voters in a November 2020 referendum ballot.
There are additional steps defined between now and the referendum that will be the responsibility of the Lottery Board. This law authorizes the Lottery Board to regulate all casino gaming and provides a framework for the Board to follow in drafting its policies, rules and procedures.
SB 1126 SUMMARY: "Lottery Board; regulation of casino gaming, penalties"
Casino gaming will be regulated by the Virginia Lottery Board.
Casino gaming will only operate in five cities: Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Richmond and Norfolk.
City residents must approve the casino by referendum.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) will research casino gaming laws in other states and submit a report before December 1, 2019.
Referenda must be held after the JLARC report and before January 1, 2021.
After the Lottery Board drafts its gaming regulations, the 2020 Session of the General Assembly must re-enact the bill.
The Lottery Board cannot issue casino licenses prior to July 1, 2020.
Casino Gaming, Sports Betting and Online Gambling
This law specifies the following definition of casino gaming, which implies the legalization of sports betting and online gambling.
"Casino gaming" means baccarat, blackjack, twenty-one, poker, craps, dice, slot machines, sports betting, roulette wheels, Klondike tables, punchboards, faro layouts, keno layouts, numbers tickets, push cards, jar tickets, pull tabs, online gaming, and any other activity that is authorized by the Board as a wagering game or device under Chapter 41 (§ 58.1-4100 et seq.).
February 24, 2019
The General Assembly voted today to legalize casino gambling in Virginia and grant regulation authority to the Virginia Lottery Board.
The bill passed the Senate 30-10 and the House 64-33. To become law it requires the signature of the governor and a voter referendum to authorize an amendment to the state constitution.
Under the provisions of the bill the Virginia Lottery Board would develop rules and regulations for casino gambling and procedures for licensing casino applicants. The regulations must be completed and approved before June 30, 2020. Casino licenses will be issued after July 1, 2020.
The bill specifies five cities where casinos can be built: Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and either Norfolk or Richmond. Residents must vote to approve or disapprove the casino planned for their city. Referenda must be passed before Jan. 1, 2021.
The state would tax each casino 13 to 15 percent of the annual adjusted gross revenue.
Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond Selected for Casinos
January 21, 2019
The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted 9-3-1 to pass Senate Bill 1126, the first major step taken to legalize casinos in Virginia.
The bill allows five cities to hold referendums this fall to determine whether voter approve or disapprove of casino projects in their cities. The five cities are Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond. Casino licenses would be issued beginning July 1, 2020.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe can apply for a federally approved casino but has announced its interest in pursuing a commercial casino license with the state. "... we believe that if the Commonwealth is ready to authorize gaming, our project should be part of it," said Robert Gray, Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief. Possible sites for the Pamunkey casino are Norfolk and Richmond.
Under the term of the Bill, the state would receive 10% of gross revenues from each licensed casino. Half would go to cities where casinos are located and the remainder would stay with the state for public school construction and the general fund.
October 05, 2018
On Wednesday a celebration was held by members of seven Virginia Indian tribes over the federal government granting formal recognition.
Representatives and officials from the Nation Park Service, Virginia governor's office, senate offices, and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman were in attendance.
The federal recognition allows the tribes to apply for federal services and funding.
For decades these tribes have attempted to obtain their federal recognition. They include the Chickahominy, Chickahominy Eastern Division, Rappahannock, Pamunkey, Nansemond, Upper Mattaponi, and the Monacan tribes.
The first Virginia tribe to receive federal recognition was the Pamunkey Tribe in January 2016. The tribe has plans to develop a $700 million casino on land approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A politician from Virginia is pushing for a Portsmouth casino
August 26, 2012
A bill has been submitted by Sen. Louise Lucas. It will be available for the next session of the General Assembly. The decision behind the new gaming bill was related to a visit to Maryland. The senator was impressed by the success of their two month old casino. Maryland earns 67 percent of the gaming revenue.
Portsmouth is the proposed area for the new casino. She believes that area would help retain casino goers from going to another state to gamble.
Currently the state is having a difficult time finding ways to raise funds for the various programs. Residents of the state are against highway tolls and raising taxes. Lucas believes that casino gaming may be a solution to help pay for education and infrastructure.
August 26, 2012 A politician from Virginia is pushing for a Portsmouth casino
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