To be located in Tysons

Virginia state senator proposes legislation for casino in Fairfax County

Reading time 1:39 min

Virginia State Senator Dave Marsden, D-Fairfax, introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at facilitating the establishment of a casino in Fairfax County by adding it to the list of areas in the state eligible for a gambling venue. The proposed legislation outlines the preliminary steps for the development of a large-scale casino in Tysons.

Senator Marsden's recent legislative move comes after a similar attempt last year, where he introduced a bill advocating for a casino in Reston, a proposal that was later withdrawn. Marsden said at the time the bill was “too rushed.”

The current bill excludes Reston as an option and designates Tysons as the sole potential location for the resort-style casino. Specific criteria outlined in the bill for the casino's location include proximity to the Metro Silver Line, participation in a mixed-use project, avoidance of the Dulles airport flight path, proximity to a major shopping destination, and being situated outside the Interstate 495 Beltway.

Senator Marsden clarified that the bill's language allows for the casino only on a particular parcel in Tysons, precisely at a "defunct auto dealership on Route 7."

The legislative process for the casino project involves the bill passing through both chambers of Virginia's General Assembly and obtaining approval from Governor Glenn Youngkin. If signed into law, the bill would then trigger a county-level process.

The Fairfax County Board would need to request a referendum, providing an opportunity for county voters to express their support or opposition to the proposed casino.

Marsden emphasized that the bill is designed to offer citizens the opportunity to choose, empowering them to decide whether they wish to proceed with the casino project. Some lawmakers see the proposed casino as a potential revenue source to address challenges arising from reduced commercial real estate tax revenue, a trend exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

An unnamed developer associated with the project told NBC4 it envisions more than just a casino; the ambitious vision includes a large convention center, hotels, restaurants, office space, and residences. The developer, choosing anonymity due to the early stage and competitiveness of the project, stressed that this is merely the beginning of such a significant undertaking.

Fairfax County officials are expected to evaluate the potential benefits of the casino project, considering aspects such as revenue generation and its broader impact on residents. 

A study conducted by Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) in 2019 projected a casino in Northern Virginia would generate $155 million annually in gambling revenue and add an estimated 4,400 new jobs

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