RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — First, it was Richmond’s bid that failed and failed again, then it was Petersburg’s turn to swing for the opportunity. Now, a legislator is proposing that Northern Virginia get its own chance to roll the dice on a casino.
But the proposal isn’t coming from Northern Virginia. Delegate Wren Williams (R – Rocky Mount) is the sole patron of HB 2499, and his district, Virginia’s 9th, stretches across a rural portion of Southside Virginia — about as far from the capital beltway as you can get.
The bill would add an option for any county “with a population greater than 1 million” and “the urban county executive form of government” to hold a referendum and let voters decide whether they want to allow a casino.
While Fairfax isn’t mentioned by name anywhere in the bill, there’s only one county in Virginia with that many people — Fairfax County, coming in at 1.15 million, according to the source cited in the bill. Nowhere else in the state is even close, with the number two spot held by Prince William County at a mere 480,000 residents.
The bill also places stringent requirements on where casinos can be located within the county, banning locations under Dulles flight paths, anywhere with the 495 beltway, and requiring that the casino be within a quarter mile of a silver line metro station.
That would leave just a handful of potential locations in densely-packed Tyson’s Corner and the outskirts of Reston. The bill has been referred to the House of Delegates committee on general laws but has not yet received a hearing.