Legislator Prepares Push For Northern Virginia Casino
With one week until the start of Virginia’s 2024 legislative session, there’s an increased push for the state to add a fifth casino.
State law allowed for five cities to host casinos, and four of the five cities have held successful referendums to welcome casino gaming. Richmond’s 2021 and 2023 referendums failed, however, opening up a possibility that a casino could come to Northern Virginia.
State Sen. David Marsden told the Associated Press thathe plans to introduce legislation during the new legislative session that would lead to the creation of a casino along the Metro’s Silver Line. Marsden hopes the casino will be built in Tysons Corner, just west of the nation’s capital, and he believes it could be an economic driver in the area.
Whether Marsden’s proposed legislation gains any traction is uncertain. Virginia’s legislative session begins on Jan. 10 and ends on March 9.
The news site Patch has reported on Comstock Holding Companies’ desire to build a casino in Northern Virginia for a couple of months, while noting that Comstock has donated more than $500,000 to candidates and political action committees in Virginia. Comstock has also hired multiple lobbyists in an effort to garner support for a Virginia casino in the northern portion of the state.
The lobbying efforts suggest a meaningful effort to enact the legislation in 2024, but that’s hardly a guarantee.
Richmond casinos stakeholders spent roughly $10 million on efforts to have a referendum approved in 2023. Instead of succeeding, the referendum failed by a larger margin than the city’s 2021 casino vote.
Not only will Marsden need to convince state legislators to give the northern portion of Virginia access to a casino, but he’ll also need to convince residents in the area to approve a referendum.
While Marsden and other legislators have emphasized brick-and-mortar casino expansion, the legislative push for legal online casinos has been limited. Virginia currently allows for legal sports betting, but mobile casino apps are illegal in the state.