Virginia Governor could favour casino legislation

virginia casino legislation

Governor Ralph Northam says he's confident that lawmakers will deliver the best bill possible. (Credits: televisa.com)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northman states that he would sign a bill to legalise the casino industry if it were beneficial for the state.

US.- The casino industry could soon be legalised in Virginia as Governor Ralph Northam stated that he is confident that the General Assembly will send the best bill possible to do so. He announced that he’s open minded about casinos as the matter is set to be decided by referendum but the state would have final approval.

A referendum will let voters decide whether they want casinos in Virginia as the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted 9-3 to approve a set of bills pointed at casino legalisation. However, the state will need to give the final approval in 2020.

The legislation, which could pave the way for the $250 million Bristol Resort and Casino to open in the vacant Bristol Mall, goes next to the Finance Committee. Northam said he favors a study.

“We put money into the budget this year for a study. I’m letting the process move through the General Assembly,” the Governor said. “When it gets to my desk, we’ll take a look at it. I’m open-minded to the casinos, but, if we do it, we want to do it the right way. This may be a year when we want to do a study, look at the finances of it, look at the social aspects, look at the regulations of it. There is a lot involved; it can be a very complicated process.”

Should it pass, casino legislation may allow gaming venues in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth and would pave the way for a casino proposed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe that could go in Norfolk or on tribal lands near Richmond.

“We just want to be responsible and do it the right way. Lawmakers are vetting through that now, and that’s the way the process works. I have daily communication with folks in the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle,” the governor said. “The reason I’m open-minded is we have a lot of resources and a lot of people in Virginia that go to other states. If that’s something that they enjoy, we would like to keep that revenue here in Virginia. If we do that, we want to do it correctly.”

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