Ears-Atlantic City Casinos

This Feb. 22, 2019 photo shows gamblers playing slot machines in the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City N.J.

If the state legislature legalizes casinos, Virginia would likely receive a boost in tax revenue, but the horse racing industry would be adversely affected, according to a report from the Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission.

The five casinos that would be authorized by Senate Bill 1126 would likely generate about $260 million in state gaming tax revenue annually. Estimates assume an initial $200 million to $300 million in capital investments and a 27 percent gaming tax, which is the national median.

About two-third of revenue would likely come from people in state and the other one-third from people out of state.

The casinos would be authorized to be built in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond. Each would employ at least 1,000 people with a median salary of $33,000. About half of the jobs would be low-skill and low-wage jobs, but there would be some high-skill and high-wage jobs.

The horse racing industry would be negatively affected by the legalization of casino gambling because of the additional competition. The report predicts that its revenue would decrease by about 45 percent.

If the state legalized sports gambling, it would likely receive $55 million in tax revenue annually. Online casino gambling would generate about $84 million.

The report also notes that expanding the gambling industry would increase the number of people who would be at risk for developing a gambling addiction.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and Ohio for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.