Firstly on February 3, 2021, the board approved emergency casino regulations. Taking a small step towards a big change. Finally, on this Wednesday, the Virginia Lottery board also approves the proposed permanent casino gaming regulations. Now, the process moves forward as the next proposal goes to Gov. Ralf Northam’s desk.
Once governor Ralph Northam approves the bid, the last approval will have to go through a 60 day comment period. In this period of time, the public will give forward their input on the matter. After taking into account all the reviews, The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department will take a full and final decision on the proposed rule.
As of July 2021, the proposal includes four land-based casinos in Virginia. The casinos are located in Bristol, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Danville. Voters approved these casinos in local elections held last November. Following the vote, proposed casinos in Bristol, Norfolk, Danville, and Portsmouth will apply for official casino licensing. The Virginia Lottery board expects to award licenses around summer.
The Hard Rock Proposes to Open a Casino As Fast As Possible
On Wednesday, the board estimates that final regulatory approval will be granted in May 2022. However, the approval may cause a delay in Hard Rock’s proposed Bristol location. Hard Rock had planned to open a temporary casino in Bristol by the end of 2021, but the new regulatory timeline pushes that date back by a year. The Hard Rock denies accepting this delay and is trying to fasten the process.
A spokesperson for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol says in a statement that the company commits to opening the property as soon as feasible. “We remain committed to opening the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol as soon as possible. The organization will be ready to move forward as soon as we receive all the required approvals from the Virginia Lottery Board. We are actively engaged in ongoing local efforts to prepare for opening a resort that will bring thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to Bristol.”
Virginia Lottery board has been showing a lot of positive attitude towards the project. The board wishes to carry out the project quickly with all precautions. “The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and Office of General Counsel have been diligently working to set up the regulatory and licensing framework to ensure casino gaming in Virginia is secure and transparent,” states Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall in a press conference. “In this role, we see the Lottery as the public’s watchdog, confirming that the law and regulations are followed, and the integrity of casino gambling is protected
COVID-19 Condition in Virginia
Virginia reports more than 500 new cases as of 26 July 2021. The total COVID-19 cases from around Virginia have now reached the number of 690,183. 400 patients are currently recovering in the hospital. Moreover, the Ministry of Health reports 3 more new deaths due to coronavirus. The Virginia Lottery Board will have to take a lot of precautions in opening the new casinos.