At least four casinos are expected to open in Virginia shortly. Construction began in earnest after citizens of Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth voted to allow casino venues to be developed within their municipal limits.
After the Virginia Assembly and Governor Ralph Northam reached an agreement in April 2020, these referenda became possible. According to the new law, casinos may be built-in Virginia cities that match specific conditions.
Richmond had a chance to join the fray as well. However, residents in the Virginia capital city narrowly rejected the project in a referendum in 2021.
Some of these communities have signed deals with casino operators such as Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock to establish branded casino locations. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe will also endeavor to construct its facility.
All that remains is to construct the properties and activate the gambling machines. Casinos in Virginia are expected to open by 2022 or early in 2023.
Virginians can take advantage of the newly-launched sports betting in the meanwhile. In January 2021, Virginia became a legalized sports betting state.
1. When Will Casinos in Virginia Open?
According to Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall, other casinos will not be approved until April 2022. Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth have all approved casinos. Richmond voters defeated a casino.
Construction on the casino is planned to begin as soon as the license is granted. In 2023, all new casinos in Virginia will be fully operational.
In late 2022, the Norfolk casino hopes to open a temporary gaming facility. In mid-2022, Hard Rock Bristol plans to establish a temporary casino. Danville and Portsmouth aren’t slated to open until 2023 at the earliest.
2. Casinos in Virginia
2.1. Legislation on Casinos
Virginia is one of the last states to authorize casino gaming in the United States. Five communities were recognized by state legislation in 2019 as potential destinations for casino resorts.
Four of these communities chose a casino proposal from among the proposals given by applicants, and local voters approved it in the November 2020 election. Richmond, the sixth city, postponed its casino process for a year before voters rejected a casino in November 2021.
The bill creates the Issue Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, which will provide resources to those with a gambling problem.
Call (888) 532-3500 to reach the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline.
2.2. No Indian Gaming Casinos
Although Virginia has no Indian gaming casinos, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe will build the Norfolk casino, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Hard Rock affiliate will run the Bristol casino. Both casinos will be state-licensed commercial establishments that will not be subject to the Indian Gaming Act.
3. Virginia Minimum Gambling Age
Casinos in Virginia need a minimum age of 21, while poker, bingo, sports betting, horse racing, and the lottery require 18.
4. Approved Casinos in Virginia
Each of Virginia’s five cities, Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond, is permitted to have one casino. In the November 2, 2021 election, Richmond voters rejected their casino. On Nov. 3, 2020, voters in the other four communities approved their casinos.
Legislation has allowed casinos to open in five cities. Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth are the four cities that have supported a casino referendum. In early 2021, these four casinos will begin construction. After a one-year wait, Richmond will get its fifth casino.
The Virginia Lottery Board will provide state licenses to the casinos in Virginia. Two of Virginia’s first four casinos will be run by Native American tribes, even though none of the casinos would be subject to the US Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe owns and operates the HeadWaters Resort & Casino.
The Hard Rock Casino in Bristol is operated by Hard Rock International and owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
5. About Casinos in Virginia
Now that the primary operator has been given the green light, Hard Rock Resort and Casino fans in Bristol will be able to enjoy table games and slots.
In December 2020, Hard Rock International was named the official casino developer of the Bristol resort. Hard Rock is already a land-based casino operator in the United States, thanks to its ownership by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. They’ve also launched online gambling sites before, putting them ahead of the competition if online casinos open in Virginia.
The $400 million Hard Rock Casino Bristol project initially revealed plans to operate a temporary gaming facility in mid-2022 and complete construction of the leading casino by the end of 2022. The Lottery Board’s licensing schedule will determine that timetable.
5.2. Rivers Casino┃Portsmouth
In November 2020, Rush Street Gaming announced an agreement with Portsmouth. The company already owns and operates profitable Rivers Casino locations across the United States. Shortly, a Rivers online casino in Virginia could open.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Casino and entertainment complex worth $300 million. Hotel and conference facilities are available, along with poker rooms and Sportsbook BetRivers.
According to a spokeswoman for the $300 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth, the casino might open in fall 2022, depending on the Virginia Lottery’s licensing procedure.
5.3. Headwaters Resort & Casino┃Norfolk
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing a casino in Norfolk. The Resort Casino was approved in November 2020 and will be erected on the Elizabeth River in the city’s heart.
The proposed casino will be Norfolk’s only one built and run by a recognized Virginia tribe.
- The Norfolk Resort & Casino is located in Norfolk, Virginia.
- Casino and entertainment facility worth $500 million
- 150 games on the table
- 3,000 video slot machines
- The hotel includes 300 rooms, a spa, and a pool
- Complex of amusement
5.4. Caesars Virginia┃Danville
After a public referendum in November 2020, Caesars Entertainment is first in line for a casino in the city. Caesars Virginia is a projected casino resort in Schoolfield that will include the following amenities:
- Resort with $400 million in gambling and entertainment
- There is a casino with a card room and a sportsbook.
- There are almost 300 hotel rooms available.
- Live entertainment venue with a capacity of 2,500 people.
- With 35,000 square feet of meeting space, this is a great place to hold a meeting.
According to Caesars Entertainment, the $400 million casino resort project near Danville is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.
5.5. One Casino + Resort┃Richmond
On April 21, the city announced that a panel had limited its proposals to two: a $600 million Cordish Cos. project and a $517 million Urban One proposal, which would be the country’s only majority Black-owned casino resort.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe and a few others had their bids turned down.
Richmond voters rejected the casino referendum in the November 2021 election, therefore killing the ONE Casino + Resort idea.
6. Are Online Virginia Casinos Legal?
In a few locations, state law permits both online and retail sports betting and land-based casinos. In Virginia, online casinos are not permitted. For online casinos to be permitted in Virginia, the state’s laws would have to be amended.
If sports betting performs well in the state, this could change in the future years.
In early 2020, the SB 1126 gambling bill was passed, clearing the path for legalized sports betting. It also looked into how land-based casinos could be developed in Virginia. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that a revised bill, HB4, attempted to include casino games as part of the overall package.
Virginia already has a few Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators.
The Virginia Lottery Board will oversee gambling companies and casinos under HB4, passed by the Virginia General Assembly in early 2020. Cities that meet specific criteria can open a land-based casino under the statute. In early 2021, the first sports betting websites went up.
To test public support for any casino, cities were required to hold a referendum. Portsmouth, Norfolk, Danville, and Bristol are the first four cities to approve a casino, with a fifth, Richmond, set to vote in a referendum in November 2021.
7. A Quick Overview of Virginia’s Gaming Laws
Gambling went underground in practically every state in the US, including Virginia, in the early 1900s. This was due to prohibition-era prohibitions prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages and gambling consumption.
The rise of abused women’s concerns, as well as different religious movements, about the adverse effects of alcohol and gambling on traditional family and moral values ushered in this century.
States didn’t realize the potential tax revenue from gaming to restore their economy until the conclusion of the Great Depression and the end of WWII.
- Charitable gambling was authorized in 1973, and local governments were overseeing it.
- The Virginia state lottery was legalized in 1987.
- The first VA lottery was launched in 1988.
- The Virginia Racing Commission was established in 1989 and is responsible for monitoring pari-mutuel betting.
- The charitable gaming commission was established in 1995 to monitor all charitable gaming activities in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulates this commission through the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs. This year, there was also an attempt to authorize riverboat casinos to keep Virginia residents’ money from spending at neighboring state casinos. This attempt to pass committee sessions was unsuccessful.
- The charity gaming commission was established in 1996, barely one year after it was established. They started approving and supervising all charitable games throughout the state.
- The Colonial Downs racetrack debuted in 1997. This was and continues to be Virginia’s only racetrack.
- Lottery proceeds were required to go to the state education budget by 2000.
- Off-track betting facilities were added to the Virginia Racing Commission’s responsibilities in 2003.
- EZ betting terminals were first deployed in 2004.
- Another attempt to authorize riverboat casinos was undertaken in 2013, but it failed. However, a law was passed that permitted bingo houses to collaborate with other bingo halls to offer higher jackpots. They’d distribute tickets to a single central point for a video streaming bingo drawing.
- Under the Fantasy Contests Act, Virginia became the first state to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016 formally.
8. Are Online Casinos Bonuses and Promo Codes Available in Virginia?
Although online casinos in Virginia are not currently legal, if they become so, operators will undoubtedly provide new players with a slew of incentives and sign-up promos. In regulated states, the most typical bonuses seen by casino players are:
Matching your initial deposit up to a specific amount: The operator will match your first deposit up to a certain amount (and up to 100 percent). This bonus usually has a high playthrough requirement, so read the terms and conditions carefully.
Free spins: Receive several free spins on various online slots; winnings may be subject to a wagering requirement.
No-deposit bonus: These incentives are usually for a small amount, about $20.
8.1. What Games Will Be Available Once Online Casinos in Virginia Are Legalized?
If online casinos in Virginia were legalized, the following games would almost certainly be available to players:
- Dealer in real-time
- Other card games include three-card poker, Caribbean stud poker, and others.
9. Casinos in Virginia Tax Revenue
As the economy recovers from the pandemic-induced shutdowns, Virginia is facing some financial difficulties like the rest of the country.
The state’s revenue is a hot topic. That is why the coming entrance of casino gambling in 2022 or 2023 cannot come soon enough.
However, when Virginia casino gambling does go live, it is expected to generate $262 million in tax revenue.
The following table shows how casino income will be taxed based on adjusted gross revenue:
- The first $200 million is taxed at 18 percent, with 6% going to the host city.
- The amount exceeding $200 million but not exceeding $400 million is taxed at 23 percent, with 7% going to the host city.
- 30% of the money over $400 million is set aside for the host city, with 8% going to the city.
The public fund supporting school infrastructure projects, including school buildings and upgrades, is a crucial beneficiary of casino tax money outside the host towns. After the city has been paid, it receives the remaining monies, minus:
- A Virginia Indian tribe operator has donated 1% of its profits to the Virginia Indigenous Peoples’ Trust Fund.
- The Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund will receive 0.8 percent of the proceeds.
- 0.2 percent to the Trust Fund for Families and Children
10. Legal Gambling in Virginia
While online casinos in Virginia are still a few years away – and commercial casinos must still be developed – there is alternative gambling available in Virginia till then.
- Charitable gambling, such as bingo and poker, was authorized in 1973.
- The Virginia state lottery was legalized in 1987.
- Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) became legalized in 2016.
- 2018 marks the legalization of historical horse racing betting.
- Colonial Downs will reintroduce live horse racing and pari-mutuel betting in 2019.
- SB 1126 was introduced in 2020 to legalize online and mobile sports betting. It also discusses the possibility of land-based casinos.
- The Virginia state legislature adopted the modified HB4 gaming bill in February 2020, authorizing commercial casino gambling and sportsbooks. By the end of 2021, twelve mobile-only sports betting app providers could be operational.
- NASCAR struck a deal with WynnBet to operate a mobile sportsbook in Virginia in October 2020.
- The Virginia Lottery starts the application period for sports betting in October 2020. The lottery will approve up to 12 operators, with the first sports betting applications set to launch in early 2021.
- The first land-based casino developments were approved in November 2020.
11. Timeline for Opening New Casinos in Virginia
The Virginia Lottery Board has begun the lengthy licensing process and opening Virginia’s first Vegas-style casinos. Hard Rock Casino Bristol in Bristol, Caesars Virginia in Danville, HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, and Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Portsmouth will be among them.
From today until the first casinos open, the following is the expected timeline:
11.1. In November 2020,
Virginia Lottery attorneys began drafting casino gaming laws quickly after Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth approved casino referendums on November 3.
11.2. February 20, 2021
A draught version of the regulations will be presented to the Virginia Lottery Board in February 2021. By April 2021, a final version is expected to be authorized.
11.3. April 20, 2021
Kevin Hall, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery, predicts that “the first casino applications will be accepted shortly after the original regulations in April.” All casino applicants will be subjected to a thorough criminal and financial background assessment, which might last up to a year.
11.4. Spring-Summer 2022
The first licenses for casino operators will be awarded in the spring or summer of 2022.
11.5. Spring of 2022
Virginia is anticipated to be the first state to welcome new casinos.
11.5.1. Temporary Casinos
Rock ‘n’ Roll Bristol proposed a temporary casino while the leading casino is being built; however, this is doubtful because a temporary casino must adhere to the exact licensing requirements and processes as a permanent casino.
So, this was everything about casinos in Virginia. I hope that this article cleared all your doubts and questions about Casinos in Virginia and was helpful to all of you.
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