Virginia lawmakers finally approved a bill legalizing casinos this past weekend. The bill, which has been in review for months, also legalizes sports betting and will have a big impact in the economy of Virginia.
Gambling in Virginia
Up until recently, Virginia was one of the few states that didn’t allow casino gambling. Back in January, however, the state started working hard to finally pass a bill to allow casino gambling in the state – and things are finally falling into place.
Virginia’s economy will certainly benefit from the surge in revenue casinos will bring. Back in November 2019, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment pointed out that “the unregulated gambling operations are costing the lottery $140m a year” and that finally passing the proper legislation would certainly help everybody.
How It All Worked Out
While the lawmakers finally approved casinos and sport betting in Virginia, they also voted to keep Virginia colleges and universities out of the sports betting market, citing concerns on how it could affect student athletics.
The bill encountered opposition in the legislature, mainly from representatives worried that legalizing gambling would have a negative impact on the population, especially low-income communities. This has been an ongoing concern from decades, with some groups calling the new bill “an obvious exploitation of the poor and working class.”
Still, things are unlikely to stop now. Once Gov. Ralph Northam signs the bill, things should move faster. Sports gambling through phone apps should be available before the end of the year. Then, five cities will have to start the process of voting and approving the construction of casinos. This, too, could happen before the end of the year.
Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) it’s excited about what’s to come for the cities that will open the first Virginia casinos, pointing out that “it’s going to create jobs” and help a lot of people.
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