Virginia lawmakers will be meeting in Richmond next week as the 2020 legislative sessions begin. Gambling is being considered the most important topic during this session as the state weighs on the possibilities of legalized gambling.
What is Virginia focusing on?
Virginia lawmakers have a number of things to decide about their gambling sector. They have to talk about the legalization of online sports betting in the state as well as regulations related to betting machines located within convenience stores. The real issues with the state, however, arise because it doesn’t have a gambling history. The state has prohibited any type of casino in the past.
In the past few years, they have warmed up to the idea of legalizing casinos within large-scale resorts. Advocates for casinos suggest that resorts with casinos located in economically disadvantaged regions could help in boosting the state’s tax revenues and create new jobs as well.
Portsmouth senator Louise Lucas, one of the biggest proponents of casinos in the state, said that legalization is a “no brainer.” The conservative groups suggest that the societal costs of the casino are much higher. With more casinos, the state could see an increase in crime rates as well as a gambling addiction.
Where is the state headed?
Even though the conservative groups have valid arguments, their support and influence in the legislature have decreased. Most GOP leaders who were against the legalization of casinos in the state were voted out of power in November. Democrats now hold the majority in the General Assembly because of which there are higher chances of favorable legislation.
In Virginia, the voting for the process will still not be as simple as expected. The lawmakers still have to decide how competitive they want the market to be. The most influential groups in the state are trying to ensure that they have also got their say in the final decision. The most powerful of these groups include the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and coal industrialist Jim McGlothlin who is eyeing a Hard Rock casino and resort in the state.