Virginia State Senator David Marsden of Fairfax has introduced a new bill that would allow the county to build a casino if approved. The new gaming venue could eventually grow to rival MGM National Harbor.
Marsden introduced a similar bill during the last session but decided to withdraw it. It is now back with a few changes regarding the location.
The bill still needs to be approved and signed by the governor.
Tysons is the proposed location for a new Virginia casino
Sen. Marsden removed Reston as an option and suggested Tysons as the only place in the county where a casino would be allowed. According to an NBC Washington article, the bill states:
“The eligible host locality described in subdivision A 6 shall be limited to a proposed site for a casino gaming establishment that is:
(i) located within one-quarter of a mile of an existing station on the Metro Silver Line,
(ii) part of a coordinated mixed-use project development
(iii) outside of the Dulles Airport flight path
(iv) within two miles of a major shopping destination containing not less than 1.5 million square feet of gross building area
(v) outside of the Interstate 495 Beltway.”
The article further notes that when asked in December about Reston citizens’ concern, Marsden said, “I think Tysons is the right place to put [a casino]. We envision [Tysons] as our downtown, and that’s where an entertainment district belongs.”
What are the next steps for a Fairfax County Casino?
For Fairfax County to get a casino, Marsden’s bill would still have to pass both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly. It will also need Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s approval.
The Fairfax County supervisors would decide on where the new casino would go. But the question is whether Fairfax County voters want a casino.
Should the governor sign the bill, it would go to the county board and demand a referendum from the state. The referendum will then appear on a vote during an election, asking the voters if they wish to have a gaming venue.
If most Fairfax County voters approve it, it will return to the county level. The development teams would then have to submit project proposals and try to find a casino operator to partner with.
If the citizens vote against the casino, that’s where the bill will die.
After voters in Manassas and Richmond rejected a casino in gambling referendums, the Vienna Town Council clarified in December that blocking a gaming venue in Fairfax County would be a top priority in its 2024 legislative session.
Virginia currently has three casinos down in Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth. But they are hours away from the northern part of the state.