Legal casino and online gambling appear a step closer for Virginia residents this week, after a state lawmaker put forward a new bill.
Representative of the state congress, Barry Knight, has reportedly filed a new bill for the 2020 legislative session. According to reports, the bill would enable the state to finally enact a casino law that was passed by lawmakers earlier this year.
The bill itself, House Bill 4, contains identical text to SB1126, the bill that the state Governor Ralph Northam signed back in March. But that bill included a requirement to carry out a Joint Legislative Audit and for the Review Commission to produce a study examining best practice in gambling regulation and the possible impact of legalised gambling in the state.
That report is expected to be presented to the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology, as well as the House Committee on General Laws, at the start of December. When the report has been received, the state’s regulator, the Virginia Lottery Board will have a period of six months starting on January 1, 2020 to produce their regulations covering the new industry.
Once these regulations have been drawn up, according to SB1126, the gambling issue will be debated again in the next legislative session, which is where Knight’s bill comes in. The final stage in the process would be for the issue to be put to the public in the referendum. That vote could be part of the November 2020 state-wide ballot, assuming that HB4 gets legislative approval.
The terms of the bill would allow qualifying cities to build casinos, which would include sports betting and online gaming services. But it also proposes a strict set of conditions governing which cities should be allowed to offer casino services.