A Casino Push in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth

Jan 14, 2019

 

The MGM National Harbor in Maryland is one reason local officials in Virginia want to be able to compete with casinos of their own.
Credit Alex Brandon / AP

 

Could casinos be the key to bringing jobs and revenue to some parts of the state? A bipartisan group of lawmakers thinks so. The effort is targeted to three Virginia localities.

 


From the far western corner of Virginia, to southside… to the eastern edge…. Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth represent three very different parts of the state.

“But we all have one thing in common and that is job opportunities and creating an economy for our people that we represent,” said Republican Senator Bill Carrico during a press conference Monday.

Those opportunities have come in the form of casinos. Developers are knocking at the door, but aren’t allowed in by state law.

Legislation backed by Carrico and Democratic Senator Louise Lucas would allow the citizens of those localities to each vote in a referendum, deciding for themselves whether they support a casino in their backyards.

“To let us control our own destiny, to help these regions of the state that are in jeopardy of being left behind,” said Lucas.

Local officials say new jobs and added tax revenue would benefit public schools and police. The Family Foundation -- a conservative, religious lobbying group -- is opposed.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.