Virginia’s Lottery Board has approved the license for the state’s first casino. The $400 million project will include a hotel with 300 rooms, five restaurants and four bars, a concert hall, and over 1,200 jobs. There will also be slot machines, blackjack tables, and a sportsbook. A new gaming revenue tax will be divided among the state’s 12 southwest counties. The casino will be open for business in early July.
The Lottery Division is responsible for overseeing public affairs, promotions, special events, website services, VIP Club initiatives, and a number of other activities. The Lottery also produces special publications, annual reports, and newsletters. There are four units within the Lottery: the Communications, Public Affairs, Finance, and Information Technology Divisions. The Finance Division was initially titled Administration, Finance and Operations, but was renamed in 2015 to Administration, Information Technology, and Casino Services. There are also three units under the Finance Division: Financial Operations, Special Projects, and Information Technology.
After the Bristol project, the Virginia Lottery Board will consider the applications of three more casinos in Virginia. These would be located in Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. All three of the applications were approved in local referendums and are currently undergoing review. There will be a 60-day public comment period following the approval of the first casino. A final vote will be held in November 2020. There will also be three more casinos in Virginia before the current regulations are implemented.
The State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency Director is the chair of the Commission. This agency is responsible for licensing and overseeing all operations and regulations for the casino industry. They regulate gaming operators, vendors, employees, and fantasy gambling competitions. If the casino operator wants to open a fantasy gaming site, it must receive a license from the Maryland Gaming Control Agency. They also review the license for the gaming equipment.
The Virginia Lottery Board is now reviewing the applications of three more casinos. Though final votes on the licenses have not been scheduled yet, Caesar’s Virginia announced a general contractor last week. The casino will be located on the site of the former Dan River Schoolfield. The company hopes to begin construction in early 2022 and open for business in the second half of 2023. It hopes to hold a groundbreaking before the end of 2022.
A casino gaming license is not granted to every city. It must be located in a host city. Cities that are eligible must have a population of more than 200,000 residents, and have a poverty rate of 24 percent or lower. The state Department of Housing and Urban Development will then approve a casino gaming license for the city based on the approved plan. The city must first submit a resolution requesting approval of a casino in the city.
The Virginia Lottery must approve all subcontractors and construction contractors. The Virginia Lottery board has approved the first five vendors for the Hard Rock Casino project. It’s unclear if Hard Rock Bristol will open a temporary casino this year. State legislation allows temporary casinos during construction. However, the Lottery Board said last week that the vetting process will not be completed in time for a temporary casino to open this year.