Virginia Governor Northam Proposes Amendments to Casino Bills

Virginia Governor Northam Proposes Amendments to Casino Bills

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam received two casino bills on his desk last month that would help in building five casinos in the state and open its sports betting markets. However, Northam wants some changes in the bills before he signs them into law.

What does the governor propose?

Northam had time till Saturday midnight to act on two casino bills, SB 36 and HB 4. He could have either signed them into law or sent them back. He decided to do the latter and suggested some changes to the tax revenue distribution systems.

Virginia Governor Northam Proposes Amendments to Casino Bills

The Bristol Herald Courier reported that he wants the bulk of state’s revenue to go towards public school construction demands. A provision of the bill suggests that 2/3rd of the tax revenue from casinos and sports betting will be directed to the general fund. According to the deputy policy advisor for Northam, Carter Hutchinson,

“He is going to amend that language to designate the funding go to school construction, renovation and repairs. The language is going to be relatively broad given the revenue from the casinos won’t start coming in for at least a couple years, probably more.”

What’s next for the general assembly?

Both chambers of the general assembly have to reconvene on April 22 to work through the remaining legislative session. They cannot change the amendments made by Northam. However, they could give a yes or no vote. This means that we bill could be voted upon relatively quickly in the general assembly. If the general assembly passes these bills, they will become a law and then local communities will get a chance to vote during a November referendum. Both the bills seek five new casinos in Richmond, Danville, Portsmouth, Bristol, and Norfolk.

A 2019 study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission of the state suggests that their tax revenue could be upwards of $900 million over a period of five years if the five cities have one casino each. It also said that a Bristol casino would bring $15 million in tax revenue for the state and about $7.8 million for the city.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.