Virginia casinos law finally near in state

While states across America are taking the steps to bring forms of online gambling to their state, Virginia casinos have never even gotten to land-based status.

But the opening of Virginia casinos could become legal with the stroke of a pen this week. Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will need to decide to put his signature on SSB 1126.

What is Virginia casino bill SSB 1126?

SSB 1126 is a Virginia State Senate bill that will permit the development of brick and mortar casinos in Virginia. Late last week, the state’s General Assembly voted to pass the bill. It had already passed a vote in the State Senate.

With both the House and Senate passing the bill, the last step for it to become law is Northam’s signature. Northam has previously offered his support for casinos in Virginia, leading many to expect him to sign the bill very soon.

Under the bill, the Virginia State Lottery Board would have regulatory authority over any casinos built in the state. The lottery board would craft regulations over the next year and be presented by summer, 2020.

When could first Virginia casino licenses be issued?

The first licenses are expected to be issued by July 1, 2020. Taxes were set out in the bill, with all gambling revenue being taxed between 13 and 15 per cent.

Northam’s signature would make the bill law, but the development of any future casinos in Virginia would remain in the hands of city residents. Under the bill, city residents must approve any casino development.

Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol are considered cities expected to look into casino development. The Pamunkey tribe is expected to also look at building casinos in Norfolk and Richmond.

The Virginia Legislative Audit and Review Commission would need to conduct a study on the social and economic impacts and benefits on building in that city.

Poker rooms in Virginia obviously won’t be dealing out the cards tomorrow, or even this year. But, if the governor signs to bill soon, residents of Virginia may soon be able to be able to find a poker game without having to venture past their state borders.