Va. House, Senate pass bill legalizing casinos in five cities including Norfolk, Portsmouth

Virginia Politics

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia House and Senate voted to pass a bill, HB 4, legalizing casinos in several cities.

The Senate conference took place Saturday and moved forward after a 27-12 vote. Less than 24 hours later, the House approved the same bill proposed by Sen. Louis Lucas on a 60-35 vote.

The five cities included in the bill are Portsmouth, Richmond, Norfolk, Danville and Bristol.

The bill requires each eligible host city to hold a referendum on the question of whether to allow casino gaming in the city and, with the exception of the City of Richmond, to hold such referendum at the November 2020 general election.

Sen. Lucas (D-11) says legalizing casino gambling could give economically distressed areas a much-needed boost.

Passage of the legislation comes after two years of the state legislature’s consideration. The bill still needs the signature of Governor Ralph Northam to move forward.

The Pamunkey Tribe has been planning for an opportunity like this since they announced the idea of building a resort and casino near Harbor Park in Norfolk.

They released a statement Sunday afternoon saying they are ready to move forward with proposed casinos in Norfolk and Richmond.

“After centuries of disenfranchisement and social injustices, the Pamunkey Tribe is on the verge of ensuring the long-term success of the Tribe. Its plans to build two resorts with casinos will allow the Tribe to provide needed programs and services to its members. It will be a great partner for Norfolk and Richmond. The Tribe will keep profits in Virginia through reinvestment locally and will provide tremendous benefits to these regions of the Commonwealth for decades to come.”

Jay Smith | Pamunkey Indian Tribe Spokesman

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