- Legal States
Fiona Simmons October 18, 2022 3 min read
Two New Virginian Casinos Are Better Than One Study Finds
Virginia is debating whether to add new casinos, but fear of cannibalizing revenue has permeated legislators’ midst. These qualms may now be put to rest following the results of a study that were revealed on Monday. According to the survey, Petersburg and Richmond could support a casino separately or together, but ideally, there would be two properties competing with each other.
Good Argument to Have Both Casinos Up and Running
In fact, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission established that tax revenues and new jobs may actually suffer unless both locations open casinos. Richmond is said to be the more likely location to generate stronger gaming revenue and jobs compared to its Peterburg would-be counterpart.
The two casinos could boost state gaming revenue by as much as $1.1bn in 2028 when they would have been open for several years. This money will include the casino gaming revenues from other locations that presently host casinos, including Danville, Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.
The other casinos though will stand to lose some of their revenues to the new project. Once again, Petersburg will impact the locations the least. JLARC has urged lawmakers to use this data and the findings of the study to take an evidence-based approach rather than give in to assumptions.
However, not everyone agrees. For example, Sen. Joe Morrissey spoke to Richmond Times-Dispatch via a phone interview and said that “we” weren’t interested in two casinos, as they would only cannibalize each other’s revenue. The way to move forward, Morrisey explained, was to focus all efforts on opening a new property in Petersburg.
Together the Casinos Would Bring More Revenue and Tax
A Petersburg casino can actually generate $204 million in gambling revenues by 2028. Should Richmond open a project, though, this figure would drop to $140 million, but given that Richmond is expected to bring even more, then the two casinos will be doing a pretty good job together, the logic goes.
A Petersburg property will lead to $25 million paid in state and city tax along with 1,300 jobs – an impressive figure. Petersburg’s project is pitched as a 1,700-slot machine, 70-table games, and 300-room hotel project. What would happen if Richmond was to go ahead with plans to open? Well, the expected tax revenue from that property is $49 million.
The total revenue would be $300 million, there will be 2,000 jobs associated with the property as well. This puts the Richmond property ahead and makes for a strong case for why it might be wise to have both of these projects come to fruition in the end as everyone is attempting to find their bearings in the fast-evolving market. Lawmakers may need to look at the numbers once and set aside personal bias.