RICHMOND (WRIC) - A state lawmaker is pushing for casinos to come to the Commonwealth.
It's not the first time legalizing casinos has been introduced in the state. Proposals have been defeated for decades, but with a growing number of states approving casinos, some believe it's only a matter of time before they make their way into Virginia.
Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are just some of the growing number of states across the country that allow casinos. Virginia remains one of just a handful that don't.
State Senator Louise Lucas is again introducing a bill to allow casinos in the state, just in Portsmouth for now, but Lucas says Virginia is behind the curve when it comes to casinos
"We're sitting back and allowing revenue that we could be generating here in the Commonwealth to pay for our transportation issues," she says. "And to help us with a host of other issues go across the state lines into other areas."
Lucas says the state is missing out on big tourism dollars that neighboring states are enjoying and any negative stereotypes of casinos are just a myth and that there are several studies that prove that.
Victoria Cobb with the Family Foundation says they are concerned about the increasing number of states that are allowing gambling, and that long term it hurts communities.
"You only have to walk several blocks from casinos in Atlantic City to see the impact on the community and know that's not something we want here in Virginia," she says. "Look at the families of addicted gamblers and ask them how bad it is on them and we just don't want to see more of that in Virginia."
Meanwhile Lucas says lawmakers should at least let Portsmouth be the test for the state before rejecting casinos altogether.
One study done in Hampton Roads showed that a casino there could bring in almost a half a billion dollars to the area.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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