Virginia Lottery approves permanent casino gaming regulations


Casino gaming in Virginia has moved one significant step closer, after the region’s Lottery Board approved proposed permanent regulations.

These build upon initial emergency casino regulations previously approved by the Board on February 3, and will now pass to the governor for approval. After this there will be a 60-day public comment period, leading up to final approval by the Lottery Board.

Currently there are four proposed land-based casinos in Virginia in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth, operating partners for which will be Hard Rock International, Caesars Entertainment, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, and Rush Street Gaming, respectively, each was approved by voters in local referenda in November 2020.

A fifth proposed casino, in the city of Richmond, is on a different timetable and has not yet been approved by local voters. It is expected to be on the ballot in November 2021.

This recently saw Richmond’s casino evaluation panel recommend that the One Casino + Resort move forward as the preferred casino gaming operator, as Urban One, which owns and operates 55 radio stations as well as the TV One network, edged out the Cordish Companies’ $600m Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond.

As well as Cordish Companies, Urban One also beat off competition from Bally’s Corporation, Golden Nugget, Wind Creek Hospitality, and Pamunkey Indian Tribe, to secure approval for the project.

“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,” said Kevin Hall, Virginia Lottery executive director

“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.”

The Virginia General Assembly assigned regulatory oversight of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth to the Virginia Lottery in 2020. Expanded gaming comprises both land-based casinos and mobile sports wagering.

Lottery Board members also received an update on mobile sports wagering, which launched in Virginia in late January 2021. There are ten approved permit holders to provide sports betting in the Commonwealth, with seven currently accepting wagers.