HomeVirginia Sports Betting NewsPetersburg voters to decide on potential fifth Virginia casino in November

Petersburg voters to decide on potential fifth Virginia casino in November

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Having legalized sports betting in April 2020, the state of Virginia is still constantly tweaking and growing its legislation on gambling. Four years on, lawmakers in Virginia remain vigilant in assessing the sports betting landscape and sculpting as they see fit to best benefit the state’s citizens. April 2024 proved to be a busy month for Virginia sports betting as two major developments took place.

Firstly, Governor Glenn Youngkin‘s proposal to legalize skill games statewide in Virginia was shot down by the State Senate. On the other hand, the Senate and the House approved an amendment that will allow residents of Petersburg to vote on potentially opening a casino in their city.

Currently, Virginia’s legislators have decided to allow for up to five casinos in the state. As of now, there are three: Hard Rock in Bristol, Rivers Casino in Portsmouth, and Caesars Virginia in Danville. Petersburg has the chance to host the fourth if its residents elect to welcome one in November 2024.

Virginia lawmakers shift focus from Richmond to Petersburg

A fourth Virginia casino has already been approved for construction in Norfolk, however, the city has yet to break ground on its sanctioned gaming center. HeadWaters Resort & Casino has already been chosen as the owner and operator, but they have failed to get approval on a final design from the city.

As such, a proposed timeline has been stalled, and there’s no concrete finish date yet, although the original proposal set a hard deadline for completion in November 2025. City leaders are considering a change in developers due to the prolonged stall.

The fifth casino could have been erected in Richmond, but the city’s voters declined the opportunity twice: first in 2020 and then again in 2023. The state then searched for an alternate fifth city, with considerations falling between Petersburg and Fairfax County. Ultimately, Petersburg was chosen, and residents will decide in November whether a casino is right for their city.

Governor Youngkin’s skill gaming proposal denied

Those in Petersburg hoping to play legal organized poker and other skill games will have to vote in favor of the casino to do so. While Governor Youngkin supported the legalization of skill games statewide, the State Senate disagreed, striking down his proposal in late April.

38 states in the U.S. allow monetary prizes for skill games in some capacity, including Arizona, Florida, and Connecticut. There are different interpretations for what qualifies as a skill game across the country, though, and some states have unique limitations, regulations, and definitions. For now, Virginia does not allow monetary prizes for skill games outside of its casinos, and it won’t be joining the 38 states that do sanction skill gaming anytime soon.

The dynamic approach to Virginia sports betting legislation reflects a commitment to ongoing refinement and responsiveness to citizens’ needs. Recent developments, including the rejection of Governor Youngkin’s skill games proposal and the potential casino expansion in Petersburg, underscore the state’s deliberative process. As Virginia navigates the complexities of gaming regulation, it remains vigilant in its stance on skill games, diverging from the approaches of most other states.