asino gaming in Virginia is one step closer after the Lottery Board of Virginia’s approval of proposed permanent casino gaming regulations on Wednesday. This proposal was built upon initial emergency casino regulations previously approved by the Board on February 3.
Next step for the final passing of these regulations is Governor Ralph Northam, after which there will be a 60-day public comment period, leading up to the final approval by the Lottery Board.
The Virginia General Assembly assigned regulatory oversight of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth to the Virginia Lottery in 2020. Expanding gaming implies both land-based casinos and mobile sports wagering.
There are currently four proposed land-based casinos in Virginia: in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Each of them was approved by voters in local referendums in November 2020. A fifth proposed casino in the City of Richmond, which is on a different schedule, has not been approved by local voters. It is expected to be on the ballot in November 2021.
The application period for casino operators opened in April 2021. As materials are submitted, the Lottery conducts a comprehensive review of each, including criminal history and financial review.
Hard Rock Bristol has already summitted its application and is in the process of getting its contractors, subs and consultants licensed as required by law. Once the lottery gives the go-ahead, Hard Rock Bristol is planning to open a temporary casino site in the former Belk building in the old Bristol Mall while work on the main casino gets underway.
“The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and Office of General Counsel have been diligently working to set up the regulatory and licensing framework to ensure casino gaming in Virginia is secure and transparent”, said Virginia Lottery Executive Director, Kevin Hall, in a press release. “In this role, we see the Lottery as the public’s watchdog, confirming that the law and regulations are followed and the integrity of casino gambling is protected”.
Lottery Board members also received on Wednesday an update on mobile sports wagering, which launched in Virginia in late January 2021. There are ten approved permit holders to provide sports betting in the Commonwealth, with seven currently accepting wagers.