The November election is just a few days away and casino operators are anxious to see how Virginia votes on a local ballot that looks to grant four cities in the state approval to build develop casinos. If Virginians vote yes, then Portsmouth, Bristol, Norfolk and Danville will have the right to approve or disapprove a casino in their respective cities.
Virginia is currently one of the few states in the country that does not have a legalized casino industry. When Virginians want to gamble, they have to travel out of state and spend their money elsewhere.
Gov. Ralph Northam recently approved bipartisan legislation that gives each of the four cities the right to approve casinos should voters decide to move forward with casino legislation.
Virginia could definitely use the additional funds that the casino industry generates in the form of state taxes. The four casinos would also create a lot of part time and full time job opportunities, help boost tourism in the state and keep gamblers from going out of state and spending their money elsewhere.
However, anti-gambling groups are against the legislation and claim that the pros brought about by casino legalization are outweighed by the cons. Local church groups claim that problem gambling and crime rates will increase with the establishment of a casino industry.
Casinos Will Benefit Multiple Stakeholders
Alonzo Jones, the Mayor of Danville has called on voters to carefully study the proposed legislation before voting. Danville has proposed to set up a casino at the former location of the Dan River Mills Schoolfield Division. Caesars Entertainment has proposed to invest $400 million to develop a casino and a 300 room hotel.
Hard Rock International is interested in developing another $400 million casino at the location of the former Bristol Mall. The operator has proposed a hotel that could have between 600 to 1000 rooms and a retail shopping center that will have up to 50 stores.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has proposed a $500 million casino resort at the Harbor Park Waterfront in Norfolk. This property will also have a 300 room hotel and multiple restaurants. Rush Street Gaming is looking at a $300 million casino at Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth.
The proposed legislation would see 10 percent of casino tax revenue go to the local government.