Earlier this week, it was announced that the General Assembly in Virginia passed SSB 1126 into law. The bill will allow for casinos to be developed in the state. Now that the bill has passed in the Senate and House, it only awaits the governor’s signature to become law. Players will hopefully have access to casino gaming, including poker, in the near future.
Governor Ralph Northam should sign the bill, as he has stated in the past that he is approving of commercial casino development. The bill would allow for casinos to be created in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth. The governor feels that casinos would bring more jobs to the cities as well as much-needed revenues.
While the governor must provide his signature, the ultimate power belongs to the residents of the state. A referendum will have to be placed on the ballot with residents in the listed locations approving of the option. The bill would allow for the creation of three commercial casinos and for the Pamunkey Tribe to build casinos in Richmond and Norfolk, if the residents in the two cities are in agreement.
The state’s lottery board would be in charge of the new industry, creating rules beginning in 2020. The rules will have to presented by the summer months next year in order for the licensing process to begin by July 1st.
Before a referendum can be placed on the cities ballots this November, the Legislative Audit and Review Commission must complete a study. The impact of the casinos must be provided involving social and economic aspects. The findings have to be presented to the commission by November 1st. Once reviewed and approved, the ballot can then have the referendums added.
It will be interesting to see how this progresses if the governor signs the bill into law. It is expected that he will do so.