Virginia opened its first permanent casino in Portsmouth this week. Yet, Bristol, Danville, and Norfolk have three more casinos. Two state lawmakers, including Virginia Senator David Marsden, formed new casino bills.
The state might have its fifth casino in the future in Fairfax near the Silver Line in the lawmakers' efforts bear fruit. Marsden is determined to influence the Commonwealth to select Fairfax County as a casino site.
The 2020 Gaming Law permitted Bristol, Norfolk, Richmond, Danville, and Portsmouth to establish casino projects. The five cities met several economic hardships which the legislation defined. Also, voters in these cities, except Richmond, supported ballot referendums that authorized casinos.
There is an ongoing campaign to shift Richmond's gaming license south to Petersburg. Delegate Wren Williams (R-Stuart) and Marsden are urging Virginia to reconsider allowing Fairfax County to host a casino. They introduced two bills in the two chambers on Friday, Virginia's last day for its lawmakers to present new legislation in the 2023 session.
Their bills want Fairfax County to qualify as a host casino jurisdiction. Also, they need the gaming property to be a quarter-mile from a Silver Line station and within Fairfax.
The Silver Line is the Washington Metro rail system's extension. The system starts at the nation's capitals and extends to Arlington and Ashburn.
What's In Store for Virginia's Gaming Sector This Year?
The two lawmakers' last-minute move to file the Fairfax gaming bills greatly increases the chances of their proposals passing later this year. The Commonwealth lacks clear gaming legislation despite its lawmakers overturning its opposition to different types of commercial gaming in legislative sessions.
Marsden told the Washington Business Journal reporters that his statute will change the state's gaming laws as he intends to introduce another gaming measure next year that will pick Fairfax County to be a casino host.
The lawmaker admitted that he rushed his move and might have to liaise with several people who discussed the issue with him. But, the Senator didn't reveal the companies' or individuals' names who influenced him to draft the Fairfax casino bill.
William's district is in Patrick County and he also didn't disclose the parties who he discussed Virginia's gaming industry with. Instead, he stated that the review was necessary. The lawmaker met with a few Northern Virginia residents to evaluate various entertainment options that the state can introduce to create jobs and generate more revenue.
Some People Are Opposing the Gaming Proposals
Williams and Marsden are likely to face stiff opposition if their statutes start gaining support in Richmond. A Fairfax County casino will attract some MGM National Harbor regular clients. Reports state that the integrated resort rakes in up to $1.4 billion in a year.
Still, Churchill Downs, Inc is building a $400 million casino resort in Dumfries, called The Rose Gaming Resort. It will be along I-95 and 25 miles from the Fairfax casino. Virginia's gaming law doesn't categorize The Rose as a casino since it will have slot-like machines whose outcomes will depend on previous horse races.