Don’t bet on casinos happening soon

Published 10:18 am Friday, January 10, 2014

The idea of establishing casinos as a way to help pay for transportation in Virginia is interesting, but it’s not an idea that we see becoming a reality in the near future.

During last week’s pre-legislative breakfast session in Smithfield, Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18) said she’ll again bring up a bill that, if passed, would establish a state casino gambling commission.

Further, the legislation specifically directs 90 percent of money from any and all gaming sites to the Toll Mitigation Fund. That’s intended to lower the tolls that will become reality at the Downtown and Midtown tunnels come Saturday, Feb. 1. Other road issues could benefit, but that particular aspect stands out.

To her credit, Lucas is quite open that she enjoys going to casinos on occasion. Yet, it’s also no secret that she’s long wanted to develop a hotel and conference center in her district. There’s no need to guess where at least one casino might be set up if the bill became law.

And that’s fine, too, as long as everything is above board.

But we’re thinking that the lack of a purely altruistic motive will again defeat the measure. People being people will resent that someone else could somehow make money from the plan.

Lucas had expressed hope that the bill will “gain traction” at the General Assembly, hoping other representatives will join in her quest or take up the banner on their own.

That might aid the cause, but don’t bet on it.