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Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020

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.

News Headlines

News Hard Rock Bristol Nov 3 election ballot update July 21, 2020 - The Bristol City Council unanimously approved a resolution last week seeking to add a voter referendum on the Hard Rock Casino plan for Bristol on the ballot for the upcoming Nov 3 general election. ... Read more News Hard Rock Bristol plan is pre-certified by VA Lottery Board July 17, 2020 - The Virginia Lottery Board has OK'd plans for the proposed Hard Rock Casino in Bristol. The board's action paves the way for a Nov 3 ballot referendum to allow Bristol residents to approve ... Read more News Hard Rock Bristol will build a temporary casino July 4, 2020 - Hard Rock Bristol will apply for a gaming license to operate a temporary casino inside the former Bristol Mall adjacent to the future site of the permanent Hard Rock Casino Bristol. ... Read more News Hard Rock Casino Bristol is approved by City Council May 26, 2020 - The City Council of Bristol, Virginia voted 5-0 to approve the casino proposal from Hard Rock International. Next steps are approval by the Virginia Lottery Board followed by voter approval on ... Read more News VA Govenor amends and returns casino bill to legislature April 12, 2020 - Gov. Northam supports gambling in Virginia, however, he did not sign the gaming bill sent to him by the legislature. Instead he amended and returned it to the legislature to reconsider. ... Read more News Virginia moves to legalize casinos, sports betting March 13, 2020 - This week the Virginia General Assembly gave its final approvals to a major expansion in state gambling by passing bills to legalize sports betting and build casinos in Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, ... Read more News Pamunkey Indian Tribe proposes $350M Richmond casino resort January 23, 2020 - The Pamunkey tribe have announced plans to build a $350 million Indian gaming casino in South Richmond. The project includes a 275-room hotel, spa, pool and fitness center ... Read more News Pamunkey tribe and Norfolk sign casino agreements January 16, 2020 - The Pamunkey Tribe and the City of Norfolk signed two agreements advance the tribe's plan to build a $700 million casino on the Elizabeth River. ... Read more News Virginia governor remains noncommittal on casino legislation January 17, 2020 - Gov. Ralph Northam has stated he is open to the idea of casino legalization, but has not taken a position on Bill SB1126 which will be debated and amended in this year's legislature ... Read more News Cherokee propose casino in southwestern Virginia January 15, 2020 - The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) last week announced plans for building a casino, hotel, indoor water park and outdoor concert venue on a 350-acre tract known as The Pinnacle. ... Read more News 2020 Preview: Virginia Casino Legalization? January 7, 2020 - Casinos are prohibited in Virginia, however legislation passed last year may open the door to legalization of casinos. A study shows casino gambling will add 5,000 jobs and $260M in state taxes ... Read more More Headlines ...
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Virginia's Casino Gaming Legislation

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.

"Casino Gaming"
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.).

Source: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+ful+SB1126ER

The 2020 legislative session will consider and debate Bill SB1126 as the next step towards legalizing casinos.


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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.

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Proposed Casino Plans

Virginia legislation will allow casino gambling in five cities: Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond.

BRISTOL, VIRGINIA
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.

DANVILLE, VIRGINIA
DANVILLE CASINO
The Danville City Council members voted unanimously Jan 3 to support the state legislators effort to allow casino gambling in Danville.

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA
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.

PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA
PORTSMOUTH CASINO
The Portsmouth casino would be built on the Elizabeth River near the marina on property once occupied by a Holiday Inn.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
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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News Articles

VA Govenor amends and returns casino bill to legislature

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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020


Virginia moves to legalize casinos, sports betting

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.

CASINO BILL

Casinos will be built in Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth if approved by local voters. Referendums on each casino and its location will be held later this year.

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

NEXT STEP

Both bills are noW waiting for Gov. Ralph Northam's for signature.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020


Virginia governor remains noncommittal on casino legislation

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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020


2020 Preview: Virginia Casino Legalization?

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:

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020


Virginia Gov Signs Casino Gambling Bill

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.).

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020



Virginia General Assembly Passes Casino Bill

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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020




First Virginia Casino Bill Passes Senate Committee

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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020



Virginia tribes celebrate federal recognition

October 05, 2018

News

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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020



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.

Back    See > Virginia Casinos | Updates 2020



News Headlines Continued

News Hard Rock will operate Bristol VA casino November 22, 2019 - Project developers for a proposed casino at the former Bristol Mall have named Hard Rock International as the casino operator. The casino name will be Hard Rock Casino Bristol. ... Read more News Hard Rock Casino planned for Bristol VA December 19, 2019 - Hard Rock International has partnered with Bristol Resort & Casino to build the Hard Rock Casino Bristol in Virginia near the Tennesse border. The $150M casiino is subject to local voter approval in 2020. ... Read more News Norfolk approves land sale for Pamunkey Tribe Casino September 27, 2019 - The Norfolk City Council approved a land sale agreement with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe for 13 acres of city-owned land along the Elizabeth River to build a proposed $700M casino and hotel. ... Read more News Rosie's Gaming Emporium opens at Colonial Downs April 24, 2019 - The first Rosie's Gaming Emporium opened yesterday hosting 600 Historical Horse Racing machines which look and feel like vegas slot machines except players do not bet against the house. Instead, player bets are placed in a pool ... Read more News Virginia Gov Signs Casino Gambling Bill March 26, 2019 - Gov Northam signed a casino gambling bill into law Friday allowing the Lottery Board to regulate casino gambling including sports betting and online gambling. ... Read more News Virginia General Assembly Passes Casino Bill February 24, 2019 - Both houses of the General Assembly voted in favor of legislation that could bring casino gambling to the state. It requires the governor's signature and a voter referendum to amend the state constitution. ... Read more News Norfolk council votes unanimously to support Pamunkey Casino January 29, 2019 - Last night the City Council of Norfolk passed a unanimous resolution to support the $750 casino and hotel proposed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. ... Read more News First VA Casino Bill Passes Senate Committee January 21, 2019 - The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology take the first major step towards legalization of casino gambling in Virginia by passing Senate Bill 1126. ... Read more News Proposed Casino Plan for Portsmouth January 14, 2019 - Virginia lawmakers are drafting a proposal to legalize casino gambling in Portsmouth as well as Bristol and Dansville. Portsmouth voters would have final approval on whether to build a casino in the city. ... Read more News VIDEO: First Virginia Casino could be in Norfolk December 19, 2018 - The Pamunkey Tribe are negotiating with the City of Norfolk to purchase 20 acres of riverfront property owned by the city for the purpose of building a $700 million casino and hotel. ... Read more News Virginia tribes celebrate federal recognition October 5, 2018 - Members of seven Virginia Indian tribes celebrated the federal government's decision to grant legal recognition after decades of their petitioning the U.S. Interior Cepartment. ... Read more News Pamunkey Indian Tribe buys potential casino land in New Kent April 21, 2018 - The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has purchased 610 acres of land in New Kent for the possible building of Virginia's first casino. ... Read more News Virginia Tribe planning $700 million casino resort
March 16, 2018 - The Pamunkey Indian Tribe may build the first casino in Virginia if their plans for a $700 million casino and hotel are successful. ... Read more

August 26, 2012 A politician from Virginia is pushing for a Portsmouth casino

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