Bill to legalize casinos in Portsmouth and Norfolk moves to finance committee for vote

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — By the end of Thursday, a bill to legalize casinos in parts of Virginia could be headed for a vote in front of the full Senate.

However, before that happens, the bill has to make it through the Senate Finance Committee.
The State Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology voted unanimously yesterday to move forward on a bill that would allow five casinos to be built in Virginia.

The five cities include Portsmouth, Norfolk, Richmond, Danville, and Bristol.

State Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) has been championing the bill to legalize casinos in the Virginia, in hopes of boosting the commonwealth’s economy.

“I feel like I’m levitating. It has taken me 20 years … I am so excited. It was worth every minute,” exclaimed Lucas.

Lucas says this is a step in the right direction. She highlights the accomplishment of getting five different communities to move in the same direction.

“I think there’s going to be some minor tweaks here and there. With the bill, that’s to be expected. So I think I will be receptive to that. As long as the five localities remain intact together,” Lucas said.

10 On Your Side reported the casinos would be regulated by a Virginia Lottery Board. However, the Deputy Lottery Director Frank Wagner says more workers will have to oversee the growth of the industry.

Currently, the bill doesn’t detail how the state will pay for the extra employees.

On Wednesday afternoon, Virginia’s House of Delegates voted 80-15 to ban slot machine-style “skills games.” The Senate Finance Committee also approved similar legislation earlier in the morning. Some legislators on the committee believe banning the “games of skill” will help generate money for the Virginia Lottery.

There is some urgency to get the bill passed, since lawmakers want to get it in front of the full Senate by next Friday.

WAVY will follow this story and keep you updated on-air and online.

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