Petersburg, Virginia Moves Closer to Hosting a Casino
The dream of Petersburg, Virginia becoming the state’s fifth city to host a casino is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Virginia Senate has passed Senate Bill 628, which could potentially pave the way for a casino in the city.
The passage of Senate Bill 628 is significant as it seeks to redefine the criteria for a host city and eliminate the existing population threshold. This means that the city could now be eligible for a casino despite previous restrictions based on population size. Additionally, adjustments to tax-exempted real estate, poverty, and unemployment rate criteria could further increase the chances of Petersburg becoming a casino destination.
The bill has garnered support from influential figures, including Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas and Senator Lashrecse Aird, who have championed the cause alongside others. These backers have significantly increased the likelihood of the bill’s success.
After being approved by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, Senate Bill 628 received unanimous support from all 40 Senators in the Senate. The next step for the bill is to go to the House of Delegates, where it will then move to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk for final approval. While Governor Youngkin’s stance on the matter is not entirely clear, many believe that he would sign the bill into law.
If approved, this would bring an end to the years-long battle to allow Petersburg to have a casino. Efforts to establish a casino in the city have been ongoing since 2021, with several unsuccessful attempts prior to the current bill’s progress.
The Petersburg City Council has also been proactive in the process, allowing City Manager John Altman to explore potential interest from casino operators. In December 2022, the council voted in favor of a contract with The Cordish Companies to construct a $1.4 billion casino resort facility. However, given the controversy surrounding this agreement, the council now plans to hold a competitive bidding process instead.
With the passing of Senate Bill 628, Petersburg, Virginia is on the brink of potentially welcoming a new and exciting era with the establishment of a casino in the city.