A story by ABC television affiliate WRIC reports that Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas is introducing a bill to allow a casino to be built in Portsmouth, across the river from Norfolk.
Lucas, noting the presence of casinos in neighboring states says that Virginia is letting potential revenue disappear across state lines.
Virginia is one of the few states that has not approved casino gambling in some form. Bills allowing gambling have been proposed and then defeated on many occasions in the past. Because the Eastern US has been a hotbed of gambling developments in the last few years, it is becoming harder to remain a holdout and see the potential tax revenues deflected to other jurisdictions.
Regardless, this will be a controversial bill. A meeting yesterday of the Portsmouth City Council ended up as a “political sideshow” according to an article in the Virginian Pilot newspaper. A vote on the matter was delayed due to an issue with the advertisements for the meeting. The council voted to hold a special meeting tonight at 9 pm, since they were required to give 24 hour notice. Political sideshow indeed.
This battle should prove to be an interesting one.