Virginia Legislators Identify Casino Review Consultant
The Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission has identified the private consulting firm that will help it with its study of how casino gaming, sports betting, and online gambling have been regulated in other states around the nation.
At a Monday meeting in Richmond, the commission named The Innovation Group as its consultant in its endeavor to explore the gambling regulations of other jurisdictions. With offices in Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, and New Orleans, The Innovation Group is a leading consulting firm with more than three decades of experience in the gaming and leisure industries.
The legislative commission and its primary consultant will jointly conduct a study that will aim to analyze “several scenarios for the potential expansion of gaming” in Virginia.
State legislators have historically been opposed to any forms of gambling expansion, but the current national gambling landscape have prompted reconsideration of their stance. Earlier this year, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1126, a legislative piece that could pave the way for the authorization of commercial and tribal casino gambling as well as for the legalization of sports betting and online casino gaming on the territory of Virginia.
Under the bill, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and its newly named consultant have up until December 1 to conduct their nationwide gambling study and present the results to lawmakers. The Virginia Legislature will rely heavily on those results in making any decisions related to the future of the state’s gambling industry.
Tasks Before the Commission and Its Consultant
In addition, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and The Innovation Group will have to “analyze several scenarios” for the potential legalization of gambling in the state and to estimate the state and local revenues that could be generated by the implementation of any of the identified scenarios.
The study will analyze the potential locations of the state’s casinos, in case lawmakers legalize that form of gambling. Officials for three Virginia cities – Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth – have already expressed their support for the development of commercial casinos on their territories. In addition, the recently approved bill has identified Richmond and New Kent as the potential locations of a casino that would be operated by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
The recently approved bill provides for citywide referenda to take place in Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth that would allow residents of the cities to voice their opinion on the casino expansion matter.
Apart from casino gambling, Virginia lawmakers may also consider sports betting and online gambling. If the Legislature decides to expand gambling in the state, the Lottery Board will be tasked with overseeing the newly created industry, set the rules under which it would be regulated and set the necessary tax rates, among other things.