Virginia lawmakers are aiming to pass legislation that will legalize sports betting in the state.

  • Lawmakers in Virginia push forth legislation to legalize casinos.
  • If passed, the legislation will see casinos open up across five cities around the state.
  • Conservative groups are fighting against allowing casinos, believing it will be bad for the communities.

RICHMOND, Va. – It seems like the Commonwealth may soon be joining the world of legal gambling as Virginia lawmakers have advanced legislation that would bring casinos to the state.

Currently, the state is one of a few that do not allow any type of casinos. Officials in Virginia have been working towards legalizing them in recent years however, this next step shows the growing interest in having their casinos.

This legislation would bring casinos to five cities. Those being Richmond, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Bristol.

Economic Boom In Virginia

Officials seem to really want to push for localized casinos as a way to boost the economy of the cities that would host said casinos. People who are for the legislation, believe that the casinos will create new jobs and thus boost tax revenue.

“Just give us an opportunity to determine our own destiny,” said Senator Louise Lucas (D – Portsmouth), the chief sponsor of the legislation.

Lucas is the General Assembly’s most vocal supporter for legalized casinos in VA.

The truth is that other states with legal sports betting have seen massive economic growth from the industry becoming legal. There is no denying that Virginia will see a major boom in revenue if they allowed casinos in these five cities.

Opposing Virginia Sports Betting

Despite the potential revenue spike, there are groups who do not wish for casinos to come to the state. Conservative groups have begun to plead with lawmakers, warning them that the casinos will only benefit the already wealthy while hurting the lower class and poor citizens.

“These are the people the gaming industry targets,” said Todd Gathje of the Family Foundation lobbyist.

Even with this pushback, lawmakers have been negotiating with developers and local governments to determine the number of casinos the state would allow and who will get to run them. Involved in these discussions is wealthy coal industrialist Jim McGlothin who wishes to build a Hard Rock casino and resort in the city of Bristol.

Other in the conversation include the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, who are vying for potential casinos in Norfolk and Richmond. We are still in the earlier stages of the legal process so it is too early to determine how things will turn out.

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