Looks Like Fairfax County Casino Bill Will Be Tabled Until 2025

Written By Phil West on February 2, 2024
Red x over image of 2024 blocks and gavel, representing a Fairfax County casino bill being tabled until 2025

It appears that momentum has stalled for Senate Bill 675, a measure that would open the door to Fairfax County getting its own casino.

A Virginia Senate Subcommittee voted 4-0 on Thursday to table the bill until 2025, to allow time for more study for the bill introduced by Sen. David Marsden last month. While the full Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on the measure next week, it appears likely that the bill — which cleared its initial legislative hurdles — will be effectively dead for the remainder of the 2024 session.

The bill, which aimed to put a casino along the Metro Silver Line in Tysons Corner, was greenlit via a majority vote in the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology after passing via a tie vote in a subcommittee vote.

Fairfax County officials were opposed to this casino bill

And as WUSA-TV also helped reveal in its Friday story, county officials opposed to the measure are already taking a victory lap.

Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert said the opposition to the bill is one of the town council’s top legislative priorities, according to the WUSA story.

“We are grateful to the Vienna community for signing petitions and sending emails and letters to the Town Council and Virginia legislators opposing the casino,” she said.

A Patch article included Supervisor Walter Alcorn‘s declaration:

“I’m very happy that the subcommittee members listened to the community and the people elected to represent them. It is a big victory for everyone who cares about good government!”

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay told FFXNow:

“We only learned many of those details in dribbles as the bill was sorted out and after it was introduced, and we still do not have all of the information we need. The community deserves to know all the details of a major proposal like this, details such as what is actually included in the proposal, the proposed site, potential revenues, community impacts, traffic impacts, and more, before the General Assembly considers it.”

Sen. Marsden said he worked with local officials

But in Patch‘s account, Marsden maintains that he was in contact with officials along the way.

“In their recent meeting, they’ve sent a letter forward expressing their concerns about the process, but did not take a position against this bill,” Marsden is quoted as saying in the Patch story. “This returns it for their decision-making process and I think that speaks volumes. The fact that they did not step forward and oppose the legislation. They were concerned about the process.”

So, there will still be only 3 casinos in Virginia … for now

Currently, Rivers Casino Portsmouth is the only permanent casino in operation from a November 2020 referendum bringing casinos to the Commonwealth, though two temporary casinos are also in operation while their permanent venues are under construction.

The Washington Post, in its analysis, wrote, “A Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study conducted in 2019 estimated that a casino in Northern Virginia could generate as much as $155 million in annual state tax revenue and create at least 3,200 jobs. But that study did not specifically address the potential impacts of a casino in Tysons.”

Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), who chairs the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, said in the Post‘s story, “I would like to have some updated projections because I want to try to keep this bill alive.”

But barring an unexpected development, it appears the bill won’t be kept alive this session.

Photo by PlayVirginia
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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