The proposed expansion of the gambling industry in the US state of Virginia appears to be dividing opinion according to a recent survey of the attitudes of Virginia residents.
The Gaming in the Commonwealth 2019 study which has been released by the state’s joint legislative audit and review Commission, and which has drawn on findings from the Innovation Group, indicate that there is still considerable uncertainty over the impact of expanding the gaming industry .
The report concentrates on plans to create five fresh terrestrial casinos, examining the potential contribution to Virginia’s economy that the casinos may make in terms of charity funding, jobs and taxation. Although the study estimated that overall the tax revenue generated by the expanded Virginia gaming industry would be worth $262 million per year, it suggested that online betting would not have a significant impact in terms of generating revenue for the state.
In fact, the report estimates that sports betting could generate between $22 million and $55 million per year, while casino gaming through online sites could contribute as much as $84 million annually. But the report also says that there were clear advantages to sports betting over casino gambling:
“Unlike online casino gaming, which would most likely depend on the opening of casinos, sports wagering could be implemented without casinos and could be offered sooner.”
The study goes on to suggest that real world casinos could be sustainable in five cities in the state, but there was a risk that new developments could impact on the existing revenue drawn from lottery and historical horse racing gambling, with the latter form of betting possibly suffering a 45% drop in revenue. The report is sure to be closely studied by stakeholders in the state, as the proposed expansion of gambling moves closer.