Democratic Senator L. Louise Lucas has tried to introduce legislation that would see casino gaming come to the state of Virginia several times, but each time has failed to see his proposals moving forward. On Monday, Lucas tried again to propose the idea of casino games but fellow legislators disagreed. Lucas points out that after MGM National Harbor opened in December, Maryland casinos sucked dollars out of the state.
Four casino bills are dead now that Republicans rejected Lucas’s proposal with an 8-7 party line vote. Lucas would like to see Portsmouth add casino play to the dewa poker because his hometown is already financially emphasized. The city has an above-average amount of non-taxable federal property and tolls have caused the city to suffer after they were placed to help fund a new undersea tunnel to connect Portsmouth to Norfolk.
As part of his efforts to see gambling coming to the state, Lucas enlisted the help of Solomon Ashby City Attorney. Ashby attended the hearing to support Lucas’s bill on behalf of the Portsmouth town hall. Lucas tries to use money as a way to persuade lawmakers to show interest, talking about how Virginia residents visit Maryland to gamble with a busload. Lucas wanted to see these funds brought back to Virginia.
Lottery officials reportedly had no stand on the law proposed by Lucas but the lottery’s Executive Director, Paula Otto, stated that lottery officials would keep an eye on the game venue if one was allowed by the General Assembly.
Otto was asked how much money he would lose due to the opening of a casino in Maryland and he stated as much as $ 10 million in lottery profits could be lost each year. State lotteries typically generate around $ 550 million per year. Otto also pointed out that MGM casinos believe as much as fifty percent of their business will come from the state of Virginia.
Of course, there were those who opposed the plan. The Family Foundation is a group lobbying for conservative causes that oppose the bill.
While the bill wasn’t passed by the committee, Lucas saw the Senate bill 1400 passed. The bill would allow organizations that provide bingo games to have the option of providing poker games as well. This measure also allows the state to organize poker tournaments. The bill was passed with an 8-7 vote when Senator William R. DeSteph Jr came to Lucas’s side.