Fairfax County Community Building Anti-Casino Lobbyist Team For 2025

Written By Phil West on June 20, 2024 - Last Updated on June 24, 2024
State Sen. David Marsden, whose Fairfax Casino proposal has created strong community reactions, for and against

Though the recent push to bring a casino to Fairfax County has stalled in the Virginia General Assembly until next year’s session, one neighboring community is already preparing to lobby against it.

The Reston Association met last week after announcing its intention to work with a lobbyist to counter the proposed Fairfax County casino legislation.

According to FFX Now’s report earlier this week, “The board directed RA staff to solicit bids for communications and ‘opposition research firms’ in regards to the casino proposal.” It continued, “The request was sent out to ‘a few firms’ suggested by RA’s current lobbyist, Lamar Consulting.”

Reston Association rallies against casino in Tysons

The move reflects the organization’s staid commitment to its community, which does not support a Virginia casino in the area.

Earlier this year, Virginia state Sen. David Marsden introduced legislation to place a casino at a former auto dealership near the Spring Hill Metro stop on the D.C. Metro’s Silver Line in Tysons. While it cleared some early legislative hurdles, a Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee subcommittee determined it should be tabled until 2025.

Since then, people on both sides of the issue have been making their presence felt. One public interest group in favor of putting a casino in Northern Virginia, the Virginia Players Alliance, has made appearances at summer festivals in the region to collect the names of fellow casino supporters.

According to the organization‘s Ben Tribbett, casinos in Maryland and West Virginia within driving distance of the D.C. suburbs “are drawing a lot of Virginia revenue out of state and into the coffers” of those neighboring states.

Jalal Mapar, president of the Reston Association, told PlayVirginia,

“[The] Reston Association’s position remains unchanged from our efforts during the 2024 legislative session. We remain committed to serving the members of the Association, who have overwhelmingly told us that they do not support a casino in Reston.”

NoVa communities form the No Casino Coalition

Citizens in Reston and another NoVa community, McLean, came together to form the No Casino Coalition. The Coalition dubs the Tysons proposal “unwelcome and unwarranted” and is circulating an online petition asking Marsden not to reintroduce it in next year’s session.

FXX Now reports Marsden is “not going ahead without local support” but thinks that the “county should at least have a conversation about a casino and other options for shoring up its commercial tax base, which has been struggling since the COVID pandemic.” He has expressed an interest in holding a public meeting in the summer to “consider all the options.”

Photo by Steve Helber / AP Images
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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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