State Study Says Casino Gambling Could Generate Millions, But It’s A Complicated Wager

News item from Virginia Thoroughbred Association.

On Monday November 25, the Joint Legislative Audit And Review Commission heard a briefing entitled “Gambling In The Commonwealth” presented by The Innovation Group, a consulting company hired to prepare and present the report. The study mandate was to estimate the fiscal and economic impacts of new forms of gaming, to access impacts on existing forms of gaming (lottery, horse race wagering, charitable gaming), to examine current and potential governance, regulatory and administrative structures for additional forms of gaming, and to review casino gaming laws in other states.

In brief, the report noted casinos authorized in SB 1126, sports wagering and online casino gaming are projected to generate nearly $370 million in net state revenue, accounting for impacts to other forms of gaming and new administrative costs.

Lottery and charitable gaming are projected to experience small declines in proceeds, but the impact on horse racing revenue would be substantial.

The linked article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch November 26.

The commission had barely finished a two-hour review of the 10-month study on Monday when warning flares went up from Colonial Downs, and from the Pamunkey Indians, whose tribal sovereignty gives them the option of operating a casino under federal rather than state law.

Colonial Downs, owner of Rosie’s “historical horse racing” parlors in Richmond and three other localities, said the opening of five or more casinos without an opportunity to compete for the licenses would “lead to job losses and a loss of tax revenue for localities and the state” by undermining a new industry that’s invested $300 million in Virginia in the last two years.

“This would send a terrible message to other job creators and capital providers looking to invest in Virginia,” spokesman Mark Hubbard concluded.

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