Virginian lawmakers are considering the introduction of casino gambling in the state, and the small city of Danville is leading the way.
At a meeting of the Danville City Council on Thursday, members voted unanimously to support a Bill in the Virginia General Assembly that would give residents the right to vote in November on allowing a casino in the cities of Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth.
The state has not yet legalised casino gambling but there financial pressures mean that there is a growing expectation of legalization during 2019. Speaking at the meeting, the mayor of Danville, Alonzo Jones, said that in the absence of casino revenue, taxes would have to rise to pay for a range of services, including a $126 million upgrade for the district schools.
Last month, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe stated its determination to continue with a $700m casino and entertainment complex which it plans to build on 20 hectares of land that is part of its ancestral region near Norfolk, Virginia. The resort will be situated between a baseball stadium and a rail station.
Another motivating factor for Virginia lawmakers could be the growing sports betting industry. Since the PASPA Act was struck down by the Supreme Court last May, a number of states have been pushing ahead with sports betting regulations, but states like Virginia, who don’t have an existing casino industry, are likely to be at a disadvantage when it comes to capitalising on substantial additional revenue from sports betting operators.
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