Petersburg casino bill passes through Virginia House

Virginia Capitol
Image: Shutterstock

Virginia lawmakers narrowly voted in favor of passing a bill that would bring a land-based casino to Petersburg, subject to a referendum. 

House Bill 1373, introduced by Republican Del. Kim Taylor, seeks to allow Petersburg to be the fifth city in Virginia to be able to open a land-based casino after Richmond failed to sway over referendum voters in 2021.

Whilst Richmond is attempting to hold a second vote on the matter, Petersburg is gearing up to apply to be the substitute city – with Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Danville all approved for casinos. 

Though passing through the House before entering the Senate, the vote was narrow, with the votes for winning 49-44, meaning it was one vote short of a majority. 

Whilst 93 representatives voted, there was one abstention and six delegates who refused to vote – comprising four Republicans and two Democrats. 

It is a contentious issue in local politics, and the large majority of delegates voted alongside party lines, save for a few small exceptions, with the GOP largely supporting the bill and Democrats against it. 

Proponents of the bill are viewing the passing as a success, but it will now head toward the Senate where the chances of approval are slim, given a similar bill died in the upper chamber. 

Richmond retains hope of being the fifth city home to a casino and intends to hold another vote before Petersburg takes the central Virginia approval.

Still, Petersburg remains ready to move forward with plans for development should the bill pass and voters approve of the plans. 

Last December, The Cordish Companies unveiled a $1.4bn proposal for a casino resort in Petersburg after the local council named it as the first choice candidate in a unanimous vote. 

Proposed to be named Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia, the casino will boast 670,000 square feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space; 200-room hotel; over 2,000 slots and electronic table games and 60 live-action table games including poker; sportsbook, event center, a dozen food and beverage outlets and free parking surface.