Virginia casino referendum passes the Senate

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The chances of a casino coming to Petersburg, Virginia improved this week after legislation to designate the town as a casino host easily passed through the State Senate.

Senate Bill 628 received unanimous support from the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee earlier in the week with a 15-0 vote. A day later the bill received the same unanimous support in the Senate with a 40-0 vote. The bill will move to the State House for consideration.

It is believed that support for the Bill does exist in the House. If the House did approve the Bill, it would find its way to the desk of Governor Glenn Youngkins. The Governor has not publicly stated his views on the issue but he is believed to be in favor.

If Bill 628 were to pass it would amend Virginia’s list of eligible casino host locations and add Petersburg. The effort to add Petersburg to the casino location list began in 2021 after Richmond residents voted to reject their city as a casino location.

A second referendum in Richmond delivered the same result in 2023. One other part of Bill 628 is that it would prevent cities from holding more than one casino referendum.

In anticipation of Bill 628 being signed by the Governor and becoming law, the Peterburg Town Council has signed off on the City Manager to begin fielding offers from interested casino developers.

The Council previously faced criticism for appearing to strike a backroom deal with Cordish Companies to become the city’s casino developer. Corish reportedly pitched a $1.4 billion casino development for Petersburg. The Council and Petersburgh Mayor have since committed to holding a competitive bidding process for any future casino development.

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