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The comparatively small Virginian city of Danville has once again shown its willingness to be a trailblazer by passing legislation that opens the way for the state’s first casino resort – should Virginia lawmakers approve the legalising of casino gambling.

At last night’s Danville City Council meeting, members unanimously voted to back a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that would see residents able to vote on whether or not a casino would be permitted in the Virginia cities of Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth, reports NBC’s 10 News.

Virginia is yet to legalise casino gambling but there is growing expectation that the so-called Old Dominion state will do so in 2019, with legislation already in progress. The reason, simply, is money.

Alonzo Jones, mayor of Danville – a major centre of Confederate activity during the Civil War – stated at the meeting that, without casino revenues, it is likely that taxes would have to rise. Jones said that district schools need $126m “for upgrades”.

He asked: “City manager – if we were to accept what the school board has presented to us, what would be the tax base for our community?”

“You’d have to increase taxes 31.4 cents,” replied Danville City manager Ken Larking. If the proposed state legislation passes, Danville residents could vote in November on whether to permit a casino-resort in the city.

Just last month, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe reiterated its determination to proceed with a $700m casino and entertainment complex on 20 hectares of land within its ancestral region near downtown Norfolk, Virginia, between a minor league baseball stadium and a rail station.

Tribe chief Robert Gray stated at the time: “Just as this area played an important role in the tribe’s past, I believe that Norfolk will play an even more important role in the Pamunkey Tribe’s future.

“Our shared excitement for this resort and our common goal of making this a world-class destination has given me great confidence that this partnership [with the city administration] will be a winning combination.”