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Three More Cities Now In The Mix For Proposed Virginia Casino

Commercial Casino Locations In Danville, Bristol, and Portsmouth Challenge Pamunkey Tribe For First Virginia Casino

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Casino gaming in Virginia is a near certainty to be passed in 2019. The only question is where?

Towards the end of 2018, Bristol and Portsmouth city councils passed resolutions to break ground on commercial casinos in their city. Danville jumped on board at the start of 2019 and passed similar plans through their own city council.

All three cities are economically depressed and hoping that the casino industry would spark an economic uptick to their respective areas.

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, however, released plans at the end of 2018 to open up a resort-style casino in Norfolk, just a few miles down the road from where Portsmouth city officials are proposing a casino of their own.

Two bills have been filed in the state’s General Assembly that will dictate the future of the state’s gambling expansion. One, sponsored by Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach), would give the tribe the inside track to the state’s first casino while squashing Portsmouth’s hopes.

The bill would only allow for tribal casinos placed in cities with a population of 200,000 or more. Portsmouth does not meet those population requirements.

“What I’m saying is that Norfolk and Portsmouth can’t coexist and the Pamunkey have a right to build their casino in Norfolk,” Knight told the Virginian-Pilot.

The other bill is being supported by Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), which would bring three commercial casinos to the state, located in Danville, Bristol, and Portsmouth.

Last Friday, the state held its first General Assembly hearing on the many gambling bills that have been introduced over the last several weeks. After hearing arguments from several different interest groups that want to be involved in gaming legislation in Virginia, many of the state’s senators are hesitant to support one bill or another. They are instead, pushing for a comprehensive study of the effects before voting on legislation.