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Casino Gaming Bill Introduced In Virginia

Senate Bill 19 To Create State Gaming Commission

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Sen. Louise LucasA casino gaming bill has been filed by Sen. Louise Lucas in the state of Virginia for the 2014 General Assembly session. Senate Bill 19 would create the Virginia Casino Gaming Commission and establish guidelines for creating and awarding casino licenses in the state.

Lucas has tried to get such a bill passed before with very little support. However, now that nearby Maryland has expanded their table games offerings and is expected to take nearly $350 million from the Virginia economy in the coming years, Lucas is hoping the bill gets more traction this time around.

Virginia is just one of ten states without a casino, but it does allow for a lottery, charity gaming and parimutuel wagering.

According to the potential piece of legislation, 90 percent of gambling tax revenue would be used by the state to offset the cost of toll roads. A recent Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization study estimates that a regional casino could bring in $113 million in annual tax revenue and create over 1,900 jobs.

Lucas is fighting an uphill battle, however, in a state where legislators just don’t seem to have the stomach for gambling.

“I think overall it has a negative human impact that outweighs any potential economic impact,” said House Speaker William Howell to The Washington Post. “I don’t think it’s the right thing for the commonwealth.”

Other states without casinos are South Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennesee. Utah and Hawaii not only don’t have casinos, but offer no gambling of any kind.