Fairfax casino bill postponed to 2025 pending study on economic impact

Virginia Senator David Marsden
Virginia Senator David Marsden

In a strategic move, the Fairfax Casino bill proposed by Virginia Senator David Marsden (D-Fairfax) has been put on hold until at least 2025 as lawmakers want more time to study the impact of the envisioned property on the local economy. The Senate Finance & Appropriations Resources Subcommittee, in a unanimous 4-0 vote earlier this week, opted to defer the Senate Bill 675 (SB 675) to the next legislative session.

Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), who is serving as the chairperson of the subcommittee, asserted her support for considering the bill for allowing Fairfax County to deliberate on a casino. However, Lucas emphasized the need for an updated economic impact study on the proposed Tysons area casino before advancing the bill in question.

During the committee meeting, Lucas stated, “I would like to see some updated projections because I would like to keep this bill alive.”

Previously, the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) examined Northern Virginia when the state crafted its commercial gaming bill in the year of 2020. The findings of the committee’s previously-conducted surveys and studies suggested that a gambling-friendly property in the northern part of the state could generate $155 million per annum in the form of taxes for the state exchequer, while also supporting the state economy by providing employment to approx. 3,200 individuals. It would also recover approx. $100 million in gaming money that is currently flowing out of the state to Maryland casinos.

Local opposition to Marsden’s casino pitch has been vocal, with community boards and homeowners’ associations in Fairfax expressing robust opposition. Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors have claimed that they were excluded from the bill’s drafting process and weren’t consulted for input.

Jeff McKay, Chairperson of the Fairfax County Supervisor, highlighted the local community’s need for comprehensive details about the proposal, including the site, potential revenues, impacts on the local community, and traffic-related considerations, before the General Assembly considers the bill.

Sen. Marsden, one of the bill’s key proponents, sees the bill as a great opportunity to provide economic development options for Fairfax County amid challenges like the pandemic’s impact on commercial real estate income and decreasing Metro ridership. However, the fate of the proposed Fairfax Casino now rests on further economic impact study and deliberation, shaping the future trajectory of gaming in Fairfax County.

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