T he Virginia Lottery Board approved on Wednesday emergency casino gaming regulations, marking one step further for the proposed Bristol Hard Rock Resort and Casino in its regulatory process. The rules had to be approved by the board before being submitted to Governor Ralph Northam, WCYB reports. Four Virginia localities voted in November to approve casino operations — Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. A vote for Richmond residents is set for November. Lottery officials say the emergency rules will give casino operators a framework to create a responsible gaming plan. Individual casino operator license application forms will be available in April. "The first casino open will hire and train all of its people. And than the second casino open will raid them to have people experienced in the casino industry in Virginia working for them on their team," says Deputy General Counsel for Gaming, Robert Fontaine. The plan includes security procedures and tax payments. There will be a $15 million issuance fee to receive a license to operate a casino, and every employee working there must pass a background check. "To be sure that every one of those people who is working in a casino has had a criminal background check and has had some kind of do diligence need to make us and the public feel comfortable with the level of scrutiny that we are looking at," says Fontaine. Wagers must be conducted with only chips, tokens or electronic cards. No cash or extended credit. The Lottery Board will issue three types of licenses: facility operator, supplier and service. The supplier and service permits are intended to be portable, since it’s likely casinos will use the same few vendors for items such as slot machines, cards, dice, etc. TIMELINE IN PLACE Executive branch approval by April 7 of the emergency regulations. The regulations will be introduced to the public April 26 and open a 30-day public comment period. Lottery Board officials will prepare proposed permanent regulations. That must be completed by Nov. 22. After the governor approves the permanent regulations proposal, there is a 60-day public comment period. The Lottery Board will adopt the proposal as final and again submit it to the executive branch. The permanent regulations could be finalized as late as Oct. 7, 2022. All licenses are subject to a $50,000 investigation fee. Casino host cities will get a graduated percentage. Casinos operated by Indian tribes will get 1% of the adjusted gross revenue toward the Virginia Indigenious People’s Trust Fund. Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund will get 0.08%, and the Family and Children’s Trust Fund 0.02%. Civil penalties will be applied to the General Fund, according to Fontaine’s presentation to the board. The next Lottery Board meeting is on April 21. .
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