Casinos in Virginia are unlikely to open before spring 2022, according to lottery chief

By Ucatchers

Full-fledged or temporary casinos are unlikely to open in Virginia before April 2022, Kevin Hall, executive director of the Virginia Lottery, told state lawmakers last week during a Zoom conference.

Casino and hospitality operator Hard Rock International previously revealed plans to build and open a temporary casino in Bristol while its main casino complex is under development. The company said that temporary site could be established and launched in late 2021.

Hard Rock to seek approval for temporary Bristol casino

Mr. Hall told members of the Virginia House Appropriations Committee that Lottery attorneys are preparing regulations on casino games which would outline the principles under which future state gambling venues would be supervised.

A draft version of the regulations will be presented to the Virginia Lottery Board in February 2021. State regulators are expected to approve the set of regulations by April 2021.

Mr. Hall told state legislators that the Virginia Lottery anticipates “being in a position to begin accepting the first casino applications soon after the initial rules go into effect in April.” The regulator went on to explain that all casino license applicants will undergo “An in-depth criminal and financial background check.”

These investigations are aimed at determining the suitability of companies interested in operating Virginia casinos and their key administrative personnel. The Virginia Lottery Board may take up to a year to complete your investigations, noted Mr. Hall, and said there is a “provision for that in the statute.”

The first casino licenses are expected to be issued in Spring / Summer 2022

Mr. Hall said they wait issue the first casino operator licenses sometime in the spring or summer of 2022. And that the same provisions and procedures apply for temporary casino licenses. In other words, casino operators who want to operate a temporary casino must undergo suitability investigations before such a facility can be opened.

The regulator also noted that temporary casinos would also have to meet the same technical requirements as a large-scale casino. They would have to install cameras so that all activity taking place in the game room is monitored for security reasons. All slot machines would have to be connected to a central system, once again for monitoring and auditing purposes.

Residents of the cities of Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth in Virginia they approved the casinos in citywide referendums on November 3. The expansion of the state’s gaming industry is aimed at helping the aforementioned cities boost their economies and generate new revenue for the host communities and Virginia as a whole.

As mentioned above, Hard Rock, the company that was selected as the Bristol casino’s preferred developer, said in July that it could open a temporary site while its main casino is under development.

The CEO of the company, Jim Allen, said on Election Day that “there is no definite plans of when that could happen, but we’re certainly receptive to the idea – obviously, get people jobs and start generating tax dollars. ”

Hard Rock wants to build a $ 400 million casino complex in the former Bristol Mall. The property will feature a casino with 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games and a sports book, a 350-room hotel, seven restaurants, four bars, a 3,200-seat indoor entertainment venue and a 20,000-seat outdoor entertainment venue, among other amenities.

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