The Virginia casino market is still in its adolescence, with its first casino opening its doors just about 18 months ago. Even today, only one of its three casinos is operating out of its permanent facility.
October’s adjusted revenue of $49.6 million was just slightly lower than September’s $51.9 million, a 4.4% dip. Still, it was a solid month for Virginia casinos, and the state, which collected $9.3 million in taxes.
July remains the bellwether month for Virginia casinos, when $57 million in adjusted gross revenue was realized.
Rivers leads all three casinos in October
The young Virginia casino market is growing at a steady pace despite having just three commercial casinos in operation. Virginia online casinos remain illegal. It will probably be several years before lawmakers seriously consider them.
The three casinos currently taking bets in Virginia are Caesars Danville Casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth and Hard Rock Bristol. Both Caesars and Bristol are still in temporary facilities.
A byproduct of Rivers Casino in its permanent home is having the largest gaming floor. As of October, Rivers boasts 1,461 slot machines, which is 46% of the statewide total. In addition, it houses 81 table games, which represents 56.6% of all table games in the state.
That expansive casino floor has pushed Rivers into the top spot in most categories, including total adjusted gross revenue (AGR), table game AGR and slot machine AGR. Of Rivers’ $20 million in total AGR, $14.3 million came from slot machines, while $5.7 million came from table games.
In second place was Caesars Virginia, which netted $16.8 million AGR. Around $12.6 million of that total came from its 822 slot machines. The remaining $4.2 million was generated from its 33 table games.
Hard Rock Bristol generated $12.7 million AGR in October. Of that total, $10.3 million came from its 897 slot machines, while $2.4 million came from the 29 table games it offers.
Virginia casinos accumulated $37.2 million AGR from slot machines and $12.3 million from table games in October.
State took in $9 million from casino gaming in October
In Virginia, tax dollars generated are distributed across four different programs. That means the $9.1 million of tax dollars from October casino gaming will be distributed as follows:
- The smallest portion of 0.2% goes to the Family and Children’s Trust Fund, which will receive $18,221 from casinos in October.
- The Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund gets 0.8% of total taxes, which equated to $72,887 last month.
- The host city gets 6% of the total AGR, which came out to $3 million in October.
- The remaining tax dollars go into the Gaming Proceeds Fund, which totaled around $6 million in October.
More casinos could be on the way, but don’t hold your breath
It seems like any plans for additional casinos in Virginia are destined for struggles at this point.
After failing to pass a casino proposal in Richmond in 2021, voters this month again defeated a referendum to build a casino in the city. The vote wasn’t even close. There were 39,768 votes against the casino and 24,765 votes for it. More than 60% of Richmond voters rejected the proposal, rendering useless the $10 million supporters spent to get it passed.
In Norfolk, the last of the five cities Virginia lawmakers chose to house casinos, plans to build a tribal casino there have suffered several setbacks and delays. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe recently delayed the purchase of the land intended for its casino for the second time.
Now, the tribe has until January 2025 to complete the sale, which is the final extension allowed. There is no set date to break ground on the project.
Sen. David Marsden has plans to bring forth gaming legislation to add a new casino in Fairfax County. Marsden promised to do so if he was re-elected this month, and he was. Similar to the legislation on the five approved cities for casinos, his gaming legislation would not forcefully add a casino but instead allow residents of Fairfax County to decide if they want one.