Bristol City, Virginia In Favour Of Developing Casino At Vacant Mall
Most of Bristol City, Virginia’s City Council along with the Chamber of Commerce’s president stated earlier this week that they are in favour of developing a casino resort at the Bristol Mall.
Reports emerged earlier that the owners of a vacant mall were looking into the feasibility of building a resort casino in the 450,000-square-foot property which is located on the Gate City Highway. The Virginia General Assembly would need to legalize gaming facilities as well as provide approval to the proposed locations.
City Council members said that they do not have a lot of details about the proposal to develop a casino resort but they also said that such a project would be good for the city which is currently strapped with debt and has large numbers of residents living under the poverty line.
Mayor Kevin Mumpower said that he hasn’t had any discussions about the potential casino resort but he thinks it sounds like a good idea. He further stated that he was unsure if legislators would back such a plan and that that other groups in the state are working to allow legalized gambling. He also pointed out that Virginia is one of the few states that has not approved legalized gambling and that issues such as regulations, taxes, and licenses need to be set up.
While the Mayor admits that he hasn’t specifically asked the community where it stands on the issue, he thinks that legalized gambling would be supported by residents if they felt it was properly implemented.
Council Members Show Support
Councilman Bill Hartley thinks that it might be a little too early to delve too deep into the issue but he said that it was an out-of-the-box idea that had enormous potential. Hartley said that the biggest challenge will be getting the approval of the General Assembly.
Councilman Neal Osborne also sees the positives in the idea. He believes that it is a great opportunity with long-term benefits such as tax revenue and the creation of jobs. He knows that there will be opposition but he wants to consider all of the positives against all of the negatives.
In a statement, Beth Rhinehart, the Bristol Chamber of Commerce’s CEO and President said
Not focusing just on casino dollars, I think of the complement it could provide to other things like racing at the speedway or Bristol Rhythm & Roots and our music heritage or outdoor recreation. It would, without question, be a draw not only in itself but as a complement to those other things.