On July 21, 2021, the Virginia state lottery board approved permanent casino gambling rules. The rules have been sent to the governor’s office for Governor Ralph Northam to sign it. After, the public will comment about the laws in 60 days, after which they will become permanent casino gambling laws.
The approval comes several months after sports betting was legalized in Virginia. For a while, several official leaders had been pushing for the legalization of sports betting.
Luckily, the state’s governor signed SB 384 and HB 896, making sports betting officially legal from January 21, 2021. Now, the state is looking at legalizing Class III gambling.
An Update for Virginia Casino Laws
Virginia has some of the strictest gambling laws. Until the governor signs the new casino rules, the state still prohibits all forms of gambling.
That includes Class III casinos. These are Las Vegas-style gambling. This means every form of gambling offered in Vegas is illegal in Virginia. So, Virginians cannot enjoy roulette, blackjack, baccarat, slot machines, or video poker.
Many officials push for the legalization of Class III gambling in various properties in the state. The senate and the house lawmakers have even looked at the pros and cons of having Class III gambling. But, until last week, Virginia was far from legalizing more gambling.
This was a huge step to pave the way for better casino entertainment in Virginia. It will lead to several commercial casinos opening their doors to offer Las Vegas-style gambling.
Kevin Hall released a statement to the media noting that the Virginia Lottery Board has been working to create laws that promote safe and transparent casino gaming. Kevin is an executive director for the Virginia Lottery Board. Kevin said that the lottery board would be the watchdog for casino gambling. The lottery will ensure that casinos are following regulatory laws and are maintaining integrity in the industry.
Potential Casinos Have Started Applying for Operating Licenses
In April, the lottery board opened an application period for interested casino operators. The board is receiving applications and doing an in-depth investigation into each applicant. The board has to find everything about an applicant, including the criminal history and financial review of each casino operator.
Hard Rock Bristol is one of the casino operators that has submitted its application. The brand is yet to get approval for its consultants and contractors to start working towards setting up a casino platform. Once it is approved, Hard Rock Bristol will open a temporary casino at the Belk Building located in the old Bristol Mall. The brand will then build a permanent facility somewhere else.
On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, hard rock casino released a statement. The brand noted that they were still determined to launch the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol.
The casino is ready to start operations as soon as it gets a go-ahead from the Virginia lottery. In its statement, hard rock noted that opening a new casino in Virginia would create more than a thousand new jobs. This will bring in millions of dollars added to the tax revenue in Bristol.
States fear the return of worse COVID-19 variants that might lead to the closure of land-based casinos. Thus, several, including Virginia, have expanded their gambling regulations to ensure closure of land-based casinos does not affect revenue generation.
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