Bill to allow referendum on northern Virginia casino advances in legislature

Jan 24, 2024, 2:55 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — Legislation that would allow a referendum on a casino in the northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital cleared a hurdle Wednesday when a state Senate committee voted to advance the bill.

The bill would allow Fairfax County to hold a referendum on placing a casino, as well as a convention center and concert hall, in Tysons Corner, in the heart of some of the nation’s wealthiest suburbs.

The favorable vote came even as civic groups and homeowner associations in the neighborhoods around the proposed casino are expressing opposition. Several senators noted that they have received hundreds of emails and letters opposing the plan.

Supporters, though, say the legislation merely allows the residents of the county to decide for themselves whether to allow a casino. They also note that the county’s board of supervisors would have to sign off on a referendum as well.

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for another round of review. It would then need to pass the full Senate, and then the House of Delegates, and finally get the signature of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. David Marsden, D-Fairfax, said a casino would help diversify the tax base of a county that has traditionally been the state’s economic engine and cash cow. But he said the post-pandemic economy has hit the county particularly hard, and that office space once filled with federal government contractors who desired physical proximity to the nation’s capital is empty now that many are working remotely.

“This is the canary in the coal mine that our economy is changing in northern Virginia, and we need this help,” Marsden said Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing.

The vote Wednesday in the Senate’s General Laws and Technology Committee was 10 in favor, with four opposed and one abstention.

Virginia voted in 2020 to allow locations in five cities, subject to referendum. Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and Norfolk all voted for a casino; Richmond voters twice rejected a proposed casino in that city.

Another bill that passed the committee Wednesday would allow Petersburg to hold a referendum on a casino in place of Richmond.

Marsden said allowing a casino in northern Virginia provides geographic diversity and fairness. Legislative studies have also shown that a northern Virginia casino would generate more tax revenue than anywhere else.

He also said a northern Virginia location will draw gamblers from the wealthy Maryland suburbs like Potomac and Bethesda, allowing Virginia to recoup some of the money that now flows out of state when northern Virginia residents drive across the Potomac River to MGM’s massive casino in Maryland’s National Harbor.

Opponents have expressed concerns about traffic and crime. The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce supports the bill.

Also on Wednesday, the committee voted in support of legislation that would allow online sportsbooks to take wagers on games involving colleges located within the state.

United States News

A calendar shows the month of February, including leap day, Feb. 29, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in S...

Associated Press

Have a look at the whos, whats and whens of leap year through time

NEW YORK (AP) — Leap year. It’s a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why? Have a look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four year phenom that adds a 29th day to February. BY THE NUMBERS The […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim greets supporters outside Central High School on the day of the r...

Associated Press

Fatigue and frustration as final do-over mayoral election looms in Connecticut’s largest city

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — It’s been nearly four months since a judge tossed out the results of a Democratic mayoral primary in Connecticut’s largest city due to allegations of ballot stuffing, sending voters repeatedly back to the polls and thrusting Bridgeport into an unflattering national spotlight. Many frustrated local voters say they just want it […]

7 hours ago

Homes are seen on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in the southwest Portland, Ore., suburb of Beaverton. Th...

Associated Press

A housing shortage is testing Oregon’s pioneering land use law. Lawmakers are poised to tweak it

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A severe lack of affordable housing has prompted Oregon lawmakers to consider chipping away at a 1970s law that made the state a national leader in leveraging land use policy to prevent suburban sprawl and conserve nature and agriculture. The so-called urban growth boundary, a sacred cow of Oregon’s liberal politics, […]

7 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump hugs and kisses the American flag a...

Associated Press

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

In a CPAC speech, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins again as the two prepare for a rematch.

11 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience after spea...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins South Carolina GOP primary, beating Nikki Haley in her home state

Trump has now swept every contest that counted for Republican delegates, with wins already in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Why AP called South Carolina for Trump: Race call explained

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press declared Donald Trump the winner of the South Carolina primary as soon as polls closed on Saturday. The race call was based on a comprehensive survey of South Carolina Republican primary voters that showed him defeating Nikki Haley by wide margins in her home state. Declaring a winner as […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Bill to allow referendum on northern Virginia casino advances in legislature