The push to make Petersburg, Virginia the fifth city in the state to host a casino has taken a major step forward with the Virginia Senate’s recent approval of a bill that could pave the way for a casino in the city.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 628, aims to change the criteria for a host city and eliminate the existing population threshold. By making adjustments to tax-exempted real estate, poverty, and unemployment rate criteria, the bill could potentially make a Petersburg casino a reality.
Senate Bill 628 has garnered significant support from influential figures such as Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas and Senator Lashrecse Aird, as well as previous champions of the cause, Morrissey and Del. Kim Taylor.
This week, Senate Bill 628 received unanimous support from the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and subsequently secured the approval of all 40 Senators. The bill will now move to the House of Delegates for consideration, with potential final approval from Governor Glenn Youngkin.
While Youngkin has not publicly voiced his stance on the matter, many anticipate that he would sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.
The effort to bring a casino to Petersburg has been ongoing for several years, with the initial proposal in 2021 failing to gain adequate support. Despite setbacks, various attempts have been made to transform Petersburg into a gambling destination.
In the meantime, the Petersburg City Council has permitted 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, this decision faced backlash, prompting the council to opt for a competitive bidding process instead.