Virginia ‘On line casino Woman’ Sen. Lucas Says State Has Sufficient Casinos

Posted on: February 15, 2023, 02:34h. 

Final up to date on: February 14, 2023, 06:44h.

Virginia Senate Professional Tempore L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) efficiently championed laws in 2020 that ended the state’s lengthy prohibition of business on line casino playing.

Virginia casino gambling Richmond Petersburg
Virginia Sen. L. Louise Lucas within the state capital in 2020. Lucas, referred to as the “on line casino woman” in Richmond, believes the state ought to decelerate its tempo in contemplating additional growth of gaming. (Picture: Sen. L. Louise Lucas)

Dubbed the “On line casino Woman” for her repeated makes an attempt to permit slot machines and desk video games within the commonwealth, Lucas is taking a unique method in 2023. After 4 cities handed native referendums authorizing casinos of their cities, Lucas says the state ought to take a breath earlier than additional increasing gaming and qualifying further cities to contemplate gaming initiatives.

Richmond residents have been the one metropolis to reject their on line casino alternative created via Lucas’ 2020 gaming measure, which garnered bipartisan help within the state Senate and Home of Delegates. Casinos are being inbuilt Norfolk, Bristol, and Danville. Rivers On line casino Portsmouth opened final month at a value of $340 million.

Legislative efforts have since ensued to relocate Richmond’s unused gaming license south to close by Petersburg. However Lucas believes the state ought to enable the casinos which were authorized to open first.

I say we begin with these 4 and go from there,” Lucas informed WAVY-TV.

Together with Rivers Portsmouth, Arduous Rock Bristol has opened a brief gaming area inside the previous Bristol Mall. Arduous Rock’s $400 million everlasting resort is about to open subsequent 12 months.

Caesars Leisure in Danville is about to open its short-term on line casino facility in July. Caesars is investing $650 million to construct Caesars Virginia.

Lastly, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe is establishing a $500 million on line casino resort in Norfolk on the banks of the Elizabeth River known as HeadWaters Resort & On line casino. HeadWaters hopes to open its personal provisional gaming area this 12 months.

Lucas Seeks Pause

Lucas’ 2020 invoice allowed cities that met sure financial hardships to mull on line casino undertakings. Petersburg didn’t meet the situations, which included a inhabitants decline of at the least 20% from 1990 to 2016, a minimal 20% poverty price in 2017, and an unemployment price of at the least 5% in 2018.

State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), whose district encompasses a lot of Petersburg, has led the trouble to qualify Petersburg as an eligible on line casino host. Morrissey, in addition to Del. Kimberly Taylor (R-Dinwiddie) who launched an identical invoice this 12 months to permit Petersburg a on line casino privilege, say Petersburg has confronted related financial struggles and {that a} on line casino there would profit the complete capital area.

A feasibility research on the deserves of permitting Petersburg to host a on line casino was carried out by the state’s Joint Legislative Audit & Evaluation Fee. JLARC concluded {that a} on line casino in Petersburg could be worthwhile, and it nonetheless could be if a on line casino ought to at some point come to Richmond.

However Petersburg’s most popular gaming developer, The Cordish Corporations, says it’s solely all for investing $1.4 billion into an built-in on line casino resort in Petersburg if Richmond is prohibited from additional contemplating a gaming improvement.

Committee Consideration

Morrissey’s 2023 legislative effort to designate Petersburg as a on line casino host failed final week in a Senate committee. However Taylor’s measure stays alive, although it faces steep odds of reaching Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk (R).

Taylor’s statute — Home Invoice 1373 — handed the Home final week by a 49-44 vote. The invoice has since been directed to the Senate Committee on Common Legal guidelines and Expertise.

Lucas says she’ll defer to the committee as as to whether additional dialogue on the matter occurs this 12 months.

“We’ll depart it just about as much as the committee to determine whether or not or not there’s area for one more on line casino,” she concluded.



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