Senator Dave Marsden of Virginia has made a calculated move by reintroducing a measure that would establish a resort-style casino, emulating the model of the well-known MGM National Harbor. Residents’ objections have been addressed in the new proposal, which now designates Tysons as the only option.
Sen. Marsden’s original attempt to bring a casino measure was met with opposition, which prompted a calculated rewrite to allay fears—especially those of the people who live in Reston. The updated plan, which specifically excludes Reston, places Tysons as the casino’s only possible location, according to NBC Washington.
The bill lays forth certain requirements for the location of the casino, such as being close to a Metro Silver Line station, working with mixed-use project development in the area, being away from the Dulles airport flight path, being close to a major retail center, and not being included in the Interstate 495 Beltway. The site of choice is a particular property in Tysons, which was formerly the site of an abandoned car dealership on Route 7.
Legislative Hurdles and County Referendum Process
The proposed law must pass both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly in order to move forward with legislation, and it must also be signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin. A representative for Governor Youngkin stated that he would carefully consider any proposed legislation in response to questions regarding his position.
The measure goes to the county level if it is approved. To provide Fairfax County residents a chance to voice their opinions over the casino establishment, the county board would have to propose a referendum. In the event of a majority approval, prospective developers would go through a competitive bidding procedure and then look for a casino operator.
Proponents envision the casino development as more than a gambling hub, including a convention center, hotels, restaurants, office space, and residences. This ambitious project aims to counter the decline in commercial real estate tax revenue, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local governments and neighborhood groups in Tysons are strongly against the proposal, even though a 2019 report by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission indicated significant economic advantages. In order to keep homeowners from taking on too much of the load, state senator Scott Surovell highlights the need for new revenue sources and the need of diversifying revenue streams.
The future of the proposed casino in Fairfax County is still up in the air because it depends on both legislative approval and the opinion of the county’s people.
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