The Virginia Casino Bill passed in the General Assembly on Saturday, February 23. This means that Virginia will now have its first ever casino developments once governor Ralph Northam signs the bill.
The state’s General Assembly voted and passed the Virginia Casino Bill – known as the SSB 1126 Lottery Board; regulation of casino gaming, penalties – on Saturday evening. The bill, having made its way through the House and Senate, is now sitting on gov. Northam’s desk awaiting his signature.
What Does the Bill Contain?
The govenor’s decision isn’t worrying those with interests in the casino developments. Developing commercial casinos in Virginia is on Northam’s radar. The Virginia Casino Bill is the first step towards making that happen. He believes that commercial casino developments will not only bring in tax revenue but also create more jobs in the cities that have been identified as possible locations. The Virginia Casino Bill would allow development in Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth. These three locations are struggling cities in need of economic stimulus. Another two areas that have been earmarked for casino development are Norfolk and Richmond.
Also, another ruling included in the bill is the transference of power to the state’s lottery board. It will give it the power to act as Virginia’s regulatory body. By 2019, the Virginia Lottery Board will be able to create rules and present them with licenses by July 1, 2020.
Finally, the Virginia Casino Bill will set the tax gambling revenue between 13 and 15 percent, relative to the amount the casino is making.
Virginia Casino Bill Awaits Public Vote
Although Northam’s signature makes the bill law, the final decision lies with the residents of the three cities. To break ground, developers will need the approval of the citizens of Danville, Bristol, and Portsmouth. Furthermore, the Pamunkey tribe will need the go-ahead from the residents of Norfolk and Richmond to build commercial casinos in those cities.
The next step, after governor Northam signs the Virginia Casino Bill, is to see the effects of the casinos on the area. Virginia’s Legislative Audit and Review Commission will need to access and study the social and economic impacts of casinos in the proposed locations. After which, the commission presents its findings before November 1. Finally, the issue will be put on the ballot and then residents will vote on it.
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