Virginia's new casinos will not be licensed before April 2022 according to the Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. Casinos have been approved by voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Richmond voters rejected a casino.
Casino construction is expected to start immediately afterward licensing. All new Virginia casinos are expected to fully open in 2023. The Norfolk casino plans a temporary gaming facility opening in late 2022. Hard Rock Bristol plans a temporary casino for mid-2022. Danville and Portsmouth will not open before 2023. See Full Details.
Virginia is one of the last states in the nation to legalize casino gambling. In 2019 the state legislation approved five cities as locations to build casino resorts.
Four of these cities selected a casino proposal from the plans submitted by applicants, and final approval was granted by local voters in the Nov 2020 election. The fifth city, Richmond, delayed its casino process by one year before voters rejected a casino in the Nov 2021 election.
Also, see Virginia Approved Casino
No Indian Gaming Casinos
Virginia remains a state with no Indian gaming casinos, however, the Norfolk casino will be developed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, and the Bristol casino will be operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida under their Hard Rock subsidiary. Both casinos will be state-licensed commercial casinos and not operate under the U.S. Indian Gaming Act.
Minimum gambling ages are 21 years old for casinos, 18 for poker, 18 for bingo, 21 for sports betting, 18 for horse racing, 18 for the lottery.
Virginia gambling legislation allows one casino in each of five cities: Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond. Richmond residents rejected their casino in the Nov, 2, 2021 election. Voters in the other four cities approved their casinos on Nov. 3, 2020.
HARD ROCK CASINO BRISTOL
This $400M casino will be built on the site of the former Bristol Mall property and feature a casino, a live concert venue and a 600-1000 room hotel. See Details
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Rosie's Gaming Emporium at Colonial Downs - New Kent, VA
10515 Colonial Downs Parkway
New Kent, VA 23124
Phone: (804) 446-0034
This brief video summarized the story of how casinos were legalized in Virginia.
Five cities have been authorized by legislation to host casinos. Four cities have approved a casino referendum - Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. These four casino are entering a development stage in early 2021.The fifth casino designated for Richmond will follow by one year.
Virginia casinos will operate under state licenses issued by the Virginia Lottery Board. None of the casinos will operate under the U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, however, two of Virginia's first four casinos will be operated by Native American tribes.
The HeadWaters Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
Hard Rock Casino in Bristol is operated by Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
In March 2019 a new casino gaming law was passed by the state general assembly and signed by the governor. In the Nov. 2020 election voters approved construction of casinos in the four cities of Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Virginia law defines casino gaming as follows:
"... 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.).
July 23, 2021
The Virginia Lottery Board has approved state casino regulations and sent the package to Gov. Northam for his signature. After sign-off the regulations will enter a public comment period followed by a final approval vote by the board.
May 29, 2021
In 2019 the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation authorizing five cities to decide whether to accept or reject a state-licensed casino. Here is the casino status for each of these five cities and the steps needed to complete before opening.
Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth held casino referendums in Nov 2020 and all four casinos were approved by local voters. Richmond waited until 2021 to begin the selection process to present a casino plan to voters in this Nov 2021 election.
The Virginia Lottery will accept and review each application submitted for a casino license. The process will include extensive vetting of every operator, employee and vendor with gaming access inside the casinos. A review board within the agency has started the casino application process. Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall says the first licenses are not expected to be issued before April 2022.
All construction is on hold due to the lengthy licensing process. Construction is expected to start after April 2022. The average construction period will be 18 months.
Director Hall said "Casino gaming probably won't be available in any city in Virginia any earlier than spring or summer of next year." Accordingly, the casino projects in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth have predicted the following opening dates are expected:
HARD ROCK CASINO BRISTOL
The $400M Hard Rock Casino project in Bristol previously announced plans to open a temporary gaming facility by mid-2022 and complete the construction of the permanent casino by end of 2022. That timeline will depend on the licensing schedule of the Lottery Board. See Casino Details
RIVERS CASINO PORTSMOUTH
A spokesman for the $300 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth said the casino could open as soon as fall 2022 depending on the licensing process of the Virginia Lottery. See Casino Details
Updated Dec 11, 2021
February 13, 2021
Last week the Virginia State Lottery Board approved its initial set of casino regulations to govern state-approved casino gambling operations. The provisions include slot machine payout percentages, distribution of fees and taxes, gambling policies and security.
The state-licensed casinos in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Bristol, Danville and potentially Richmond will be subject to the following regulations. This is a partial list of the key provisions.
FEES AND TAXES
Each casino will pay the state a one-time $15 million licensing fee good for 10 years.
Each casino will pay the Virginia Lottery a $50,000 fee for background investigations of casino officials and investors.
Gross gaming revenues will be taxed on a graduated scale of 18-30 percent and paid to the Virginia Gaming Proceeds Fund.
Most of the Gaming Proceed Funds will be allocated to the local governments in cities with casinos. One percent will go to the Virginia Indigenous People's Trust Fund, 0.8 percent to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, and 0.2 percent ftor the Family and Children's Trust Fund.
The minimum age of 21 is required to enter a casino.
Each casino must develop and advertise a responsible gambling program.
Casinos cannot extend credit to gamblers.
Wagering cannot be conducted in cash. Gamblers must wager with tokens, chips, or electronic cards purchased from the casino.
Slot machine wagers can range from a penny to $500.
Slot machine payouts must average between 89 and 94 percent.
Table game wager limits are $5 to $50,000.
Each casino must have a minimum of 1,000 square feet of office space adjacent to the gaming floor for the purpose of security and surveillance.
The above features are some of the preliminary regulations approved by the Lottery Board. The board will publish a full set of casino regulations upon completion.
January 7, 2021
January 1st was the beginning date for legalized sports betting in Virginia. The first online sportsbooks are expected to launch later this month just in time for Super Bowl LV on February 7th.
Last July the Virginia General Assembly authorized the Virginia Lottery to license and oversee all sportsbook operations in the state. A maximum of 12 licenses is authorized, and nearly two dozen applications have been received. It is expected that four licenses will be issued to the recent voter-approved casinos: Caesars Virginia in Danville, Hard Rock Casino in Bristol, Pamunkey Tribe's Resort & Casino in Norfolk and Rivers Casino in Portsmouth. The other eight will likely be issued to established operators such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and others. One may be held for the future Richmond Casino.
Sports betting in Virginia is expected to generate $400 million in annual revenues. The state will collect 15% of the revenue as taxes.
November 29, 2020
The Virginia Lottery Board has begun the long process towards licensing and opening the first Vegas-style casinos in Virginia. Those casinos will be Hard Rock Casino Bristol in Bristol, Caesars Virginia in Danville, HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk and Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Portsmouth.
Here is the expected timeline from today until the first casinos open:
Virginia Lottery attorneys have begun preparing casino gaming regulations soon after November 3 when Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth approved casino referendums for their cities.
The Virginia Lottery Board will see a draft version of the regulations in February 2021. A final version is expected to be approved by April 2021.
Kevin Hall, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery, anticipates "to begin accepting the first casino applications shortly after the initial regs take effect in April." All casino applicants will undergo an extensive criminal and financial background investigation that could take up to a year.
The first casino operator licenses will be issued in the spring or summer of 2022.
The first new casinos are expected to open in Virginia.
Hard Rock Bristol proposed a temporary casino while its main casino is under construction, however, this is unlikely because a temporary casino follows the same licensing provisions and procedures as a permanent casino.
November 5, 2020
Local voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth approved local referendums to build casinos in their respective cities. Votes were 2 to 1 in favor of these casinos.
HARD ROCK CASINO BRISTOL
This $400 million casino and hotel project that will be built on the site of the former Bristol Mall. The plan includes a 90,000-square-foot casino, a live concert venue, and a 600-1000 room hotel.
This $400 million casino and hotel project will be built at the former site of Dan River Mills' Schoolfield Division. It includes a casino, restaurants, 2,500-seat live entertainment center, conference space, and a 300-room hotel with spa.
HEADWATERS RESORT & CASINO
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe plans a $500 milliion casino and hotel on the Norfolk waterfront next to the minor league baseball stadium. The project includes a casino with 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games and a 300-room hotel.
RIVERS CASINO PORTSMOUTH
This $300 million casino and hotel project will be built on the Elizabeth River near the marina on property of the former Holiday Inn. It features 400,000 square feet of gaming and entertainment including a 3,000-seat entertainment center and a 4-star hotel.
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.
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