An unsuccessful attempt in 2023 to categorize Fairfax County as a potential site for a commercial casino could be revived in 2024 at the Virginia General Assembly. The proposition was rejected previously as at the time of the initial bill’s passage, Fairfax could not meet the stringent criteria, which listed a substantial population drop of at least 20% from 1990 to 2016, and a minimal poverty rate of 20% in 2017 to be present in the area.
The 2020 enacted gaming law permitted only the most economically compromised cities and counties to house casinos. Only a few, namely Richmond, Norfolk, Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth qualified under these tough economic adversity regulations. According to this law, casinos can be sanctioned only if the locals voice their acceptance in a referendum. All cities except Richmond have set their gaming opportunities in motion since then.
Virginia State Sen. David Marsden echoes the sentiment that a casino in Northern Virginia, the area with the biggest chunk of the state’s population, could significantly increase the state’s tax benefits and bolster the economy of Fairfax. Marsden had initially suggested Reston as a prime location for a casino resort but has since leaned towards Tysons Corner, another thriving area within Fairfax.
Tysons, including neighboring regions McLean, Vienna, and Fairfax, serves as a prolific business hub in Northern Virginia, housing many multinational corporations. Marsden opines that a casino resort would infuse the area with much-needed entertainment options.
Sen. Marsden has also been approached by Comstock, a real estate development firm specialized in commercial, residential, retail, and mixed-use spaces, based in Reston. They have shown interest in redeveloping former automobile dealerships on Chain Bridge Road, with a casino being a potential idea if the lawmakers and local voters approve of it through a referendum.
However, the demand for a casino resort in Fairfax County, a predominantly corporate and residential area, seems to be less with most of the residents having migrated for a more suburban way of life compared to D.C. The affluent county, with a median yearly household income of $134K, is named among the wealthiest in the United States.
Following the resistance faced in January, Marsden and Williams’ Fairfax casino bill was promptly retracted, with Marsden citing 2024 as a more suitable year for such considerations. Reports suggest that Marsden might soon introduce another casino bill for Fairfax County.
Earlier this year, Comstock donated $10K to Marsden’s reelection campaign. The seat for Fairfax County, currently held by Marsden since his win in the November 2009 election, is widely expected to remain in Marsden’s favor against his Republican challenger, Mark Vafiades, in the forthcoming November poll. Marsden had also served previously in the House of Delegates.