Virginia Casino Plans Face Opposition as Referendum Approaches

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Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia passed a casino bill that made it possible for the creation of casinos in various cities around the state. However, for casinos to be set up in the qualifying cities, the residents had to weigh in on the matter first. That said, on November 3, voters in Danville, Bristol, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth, the five qualifying cities, will vote on whether to allow the establishment of casino venues within their borders.

However, it is already clear that this will not be a smooth ride. A number of lobbyist efforts against the casino plans are beginning to creep up and given all the noise that is being made, the impact of these efforts will certainly be felt on the voting day.

The New Political Action Committee in Danville

Eric Stamps, a resident of Danville has recently formed a political action committee (PAC) whose main goal is to oppose the proposed establishment of a casino in the city. Caesars Entertainment, one of the most popular gambling brands in the country, had a very strong interest in establishing a casino in Danville but with the current situation, those plans may not see the light of day.

Alone, Stamps believes that his views and those of other residents would not be heard but with the committee, they should be able to effectively weigh in on the issue.

“There’s a large segment of the population that feels like they’re not being heard. It’s hard for them to compete or have this voice heard against the major corporations.”

Eric Stamps.

One of the things that the committee is interested in is whether the proposed casino would hire locals or brings in employees from other regions. The committee is also interested in the total number of workplaces and employment opportunities that the establishment will come with. In essence, the main focus of this particular committee is to determine the viability of the project and seek more clarification before votes are cast.

Bristol Churches Unite to Oppose Casino Plans

Another notable development involves a proposed casino in Bristol. Four churches in the state have recently started funding a campaign that intends to warn voters about the potential consequences of casinos. The churches have even already gone as far as sending anti-gambling propaganda contained in an eight-page magazine to residents of Bristol.

According to the magazine, “gambling is a psychological addiction” and “pathological gambling is classified as a major addiction, and carries the same life-wrecking potential as cocaine.” Now, while all these sentiments are not entirely accurate especially considering all of the efforts being put to promote responsible and safe gambling, they will still have an impact on the resident’s perception.

Perhaps it will be necessary for the stakeholders to offer more educations regarding the potential benefits, the measures being put in place, and even the potential problems. For now, we can only wait to see how the November vote turns out.