Senator Louise Lucas has worked for many years to try and see poker gaming legalized in the state of Virginia. Attempts made over the past three years have failed to gain any traction but it seems at least some of her latest efforts are moving forward. After introducing S1400, a bill that would move the state in the direction of legalizing land based poker gaming, Lucas has been able to gain support and see the measure pass in the Senate.
The bill narrowly passed during a Senate committee hearing with a vote of 8 to 7. The measure then moved on to a full Senate vote which resulted in a vote of 19-19. The Senate president then cast the deciding vote which saw the measure move forward with just one vote for a second time. The bill now moves on to the House of Delegates for consideration.
It is believed that the bill may have difficulty passing in the House due to the members being more conservative than the Senate. The majority of the House are Republicans who are not necessarily in favor of gambling. If the bill does manage to pass, it would allow for poker to be legalized in the state. It appears that Governor Terry McAuliffe would be willing to sign the measure into law if it makes its way to his desk.
Part of Lucas’ argument for the game is that the state is losing out on revenues to neighboring states. Players who enjoy the game of poker simply head to nearby states such as Maryland to enjoy poker as well as casino gaming on offer. If poker were to be legalized, Virginia would be able to reap the monetary benefits that the game can provide.
The state still has a long way to go in regards to coming up to speed with neighboring states that offer gambling options but the movement of S1400 is certainly a step in the right direction.
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