Virginia Senate Committee advances a crucial bill for a Petersburg casino referendum, marking a significant step in expanding the state's gaming landscape. Read more about this legislative development.

Quick Intro

Virginia is potentially on the cusp of welcoming its fifth casino, with significant legislative developments hinting at this possibility. The focus is now on the Virginia Senate and Assembly of Delegates, as their backing is crucial for the realization of a casino in the state’s municipalities.

Virginia Senate Committee Advances Key Casino Bills

The Virginia Senate’s General Laws and Technology Committee has had a productive session, particularly in the realm of casino legislation. One of the pivotal actions taken was the removal of Richmond from the list of potential locations for a new casino, following its residents’ rejection of casino gaming in two separate referendums.

In place of Richmond, two other locations are under consideration. The committee unanimously supported a bill favoring Petersburg, a city already actively seeking legislative support for a casino. Additionally, the greater Fairfax County area is in the running, with its bill garnering mixed reactions: 10 votes for, 5 against, and one abstention. Furthermore, there’s a proposal to limit casino referendums in such areas to once every three years.

If these proposals receive approval from both the Virginia Senate and the Assembly of Delegates, residents of either Fairfax County or Petersburg could be voting on enabling casino gaming in their area as early as this fall. However, there’s an ongoing debate over which location is more suitable, with reported low support for casinos in both regions according to Graham Moomaw of News From The States.

Potential Expansion of Legal Sports Betting

Another significant legislative development is the potential expansion of legal sports betting in Virginia. Currently, state law prohibits licensed sportsbooks from accepting bets on events involving in-state college teams. This restriction has been a point of contention among sports betting enthusiasts.

SB 124, favorably reported by the committee, seeks to amend this by allowing Virginia sportsbooks to accept pre-game and live wagers on game outcomes involving in-state college teams. However, prop bets on such events would still be off-limits. The fate of this bill in the wider Senate, the Assembly, and with Governor Glenn Youngkin is yet to be determined, but it represents a hopeful direction for those wishing to legally bet on teams like the Cavaliers and Hokies.

Enhanced Sports Betting Options Await Approval

The approval of SB 124 would signify a notable shift in Virginia’s sports betting landscape. Enthusiasts of college sports betting are looking forward to this change, as it would open up new avenues for legal wagering on popular in-state teams. The bill’s progress is being closely watched, as it could lead to a more inclusive and diverse betting market in Virginia, adding to the state’s growing reputation as a hub for legal sports gambling. This proposed change underscores Virginia’s evolving stance on gambling and sports betting, potentially setting a precedent for future legislative actions in this sector.