Casinos in Virginia are one step closer to reality after the passing of bills by the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate.

On Tuesday, the House of Delegates passed HB4 (61-33), which authorizes casino gaming in the Commonwealth to be regulated by the Virginia Lottery Board.

The bill specifies requirements for licensure for casino operators, conduct of casino gaming and imposes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the law.

The bill states that the location of potential casinos must be limited to the eligible cities of Portsmouth, Richmond, Norfolk, Danville and Bristol. These cities must hold a referendum in the November 2020 general election, asking voters whether to allow casino gaming in the city.

In addition, the bill imposes a two-tier tax structure, with taxes ranging from 15 to 28 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of licensees based on capital investment, and outlines tax revenue disbursement.

The bill also includes a voluntary exclusion program and the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support fund.

The Senate passed a similar bill on Tuesday, by a vote of 29-11, with only a few differences. In SB36, the proposed tax ranges from 27 to 40 percent of the adjusted gross receipts of licensees. The Senate’s bill also states Richmond as an exception for a referendum.

Tuesday was crossover day, the last day for the House and Senate to act on its own legislation.

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