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Upcoming Report Could Shape Next Steps for Virginia Casinos

Colonial Downs in New Kent
New historical horse racing machines debuted in April at Colonial Downs in New Kent. (Ben Paviour/VPM News)

Should Virginia allow gambling, sports betting, or even casinos? A report set to be released on Monday could help the General Assembly answer that question. 

In April, throngs of people gathered at Colonial Downs to play new historical horse racing machines. They look a lot like slot machines, and they were approved by lawmakers in 2018

This year, some gaming proponents lobbied the state to go further and legalize sports betting or casinos in places like Norfolk or Bristol. 

Some lawmakers said that was too much, too soon. 

The GOP-controlled legislature ultimately voted to send the issue to its internal watchdog, the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission, to study how other states have dealt with gaming.

JLARC’s report is due Monday. 

Two outstanding questions: which regions might benefit from new casinos and what role the Virginia Lottery will play.

Ben Paviour covers state politics for VPM News with a focus on accountability journalism.