The odds are stacked against a Petersburg casino bill that would put a casino project on the fall ballot. However, there’s a slight chance that the Virginia General Assembly would approve it.
After surviving Friday’s House Finance Committee vote, a plan to construct a $1.4 billion casino near Peterburg is still in the running. By a score of 11 to 9, the committee decided to send the bill to the full House for consideration. If it passes there, it will have another chance in the state Senate the following week.
On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee defeated a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) by a vote of 7-8, dealing a severe setback to the initiative. Tommy Norment (R-James City) was the lone senator not present.
Prospects of Petersburg Casino Bill
On Friday, Senate Finance Committee Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) sounded pessimistic about the bill’s chances. Though she favors letting Richmond conduct another vote, she is a “strong no” on the proposed casino in Petersburg.
There is room for compromise among at least some “no” voters.
A last-minute amendment adding pay safeguards for Petersburg employees alienated several lawmakers, particularly Republican Senator Emmett Hanger of Augusta and Democrat Senator Frank Ruff of West Virginia (R-Mecklenburg).
Ruff said that officials from the Danville resort casino Caesars were concerned they would be forced to implement similar procedures in the future if they were included in the final law. However, there’s no provision for eSports betting.
The state legislature in 2020 authorized five jurisdictions to move forward with casino proposals, subject to voter approval. Although construction has begun on four of these projects, voters in Richmond shot down the fifth in 2021.
According to online gaming news, two casinos in Central Virginia might survive with the four already there, according to a new assessment. However, doing so could reduce the profitability of the existing enterprises.
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