In recent years, states in the US have been legalizing gambling right, left and center. Virginia might be the next state to add on to the list, according to the rumors that are going around. That is, reports have it that Virginia has been making several moves in an effort to legalize gambling in the state.
The most recent move was on February 4, where the legislation gave the authority to the voters in Richmond, Norfolk, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Danville. Voters in the five cities have been given the freedom to decide whether they wish to have casinos in their cities through a referendum. A similar bill is already been prepared for presentation in the Virginia House.
The first-ever move to legalize gambling in Virginia was in 2018 when the Colonia Downs in New Kent County was purchased by a Chicago-based gaming operator, Revolutionary Racing. The horseracing track was set to be reopened in 2019 in an effort to bring back sports racing to the state.
The sale only happened after the General Assembly voted to allow gambling at the Colonial Downs track. According to the calvinayre.com, off-track betting sites were also approved throughout the state, though this happened over time.
In precise, this move by the General Assembly created a possibility of casinos being opened up all over Virginia. But unfortunately, this was to never happen as was supposed. The representing advocates emphasized the benefits this business would have, not only on the state but also on the cities.
The casinos would be a major economic boost to the economy of the regions as they would create new jobs as well as boost income earned through tax, the experts insisted. Louise Lucas, the then-Democratic Senator of Portsmouth, together with some other executives from the gaming industry urged the public to be patient and let time take its course.
However, it is evident that not everyone is on board with having gambling legalized in Virginia. Well, most media platforms seem to portray that, but it’s actually not the whole truth. Activists against the proposal are vehemently accusing the rich of wanting to enrich themselves more.
They are warning the legislature and the public that the new casinos will continue to make the rich richer while making the poor poorer. Todd Gathje, one of the activists insists that the target market for the casinos is the poor people.
Just recently, the gaming operator MGM Resorts opened a resort-casino in Maryland worth $1.4 billion. The gaming venue is just across the river from Virginia and it seems to have discouraged legislators, who have been keen on keeping casinos out of densely populated areas of the state. Still, however, the authorities are still seeking ways to ensure that.
At the moment, the legislation is working on a draft that will determine the total number of casinos that will be in Virginia. Already several gaming operators, including Jim McGlothlin and Pamunkey Indian Tribe, have expressed their interest in investing in Virginia.