Virginia Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) had lost count on how many times she watched her gambling related bills flew straight in the garbage bin.
But last Monday’s Senate General Laws Committee hearing was different for Lucas after of her bills, which would allow organizations that hold bingo games to also poker games, had finally been transmitted to the full Senate.
The Daily Press reported that Lucas’ Senate Bill 1400 has hurdled the Senate Committee, albeit by a hairline.
Voting 8-7, the Senate Committee approved her poker bill, thanks in-part to Sen. William R. DeSteph Jr., R-Virginia Beach, who surprisingly joined her side.
The other Senator who voted in favor of the bill were Democrat Senators George Barker, Marnie Locke, Adam Ebbin, Jennifer Wexton, Scott Surovell, Jeremy McPike, and Monty Mason. The seven “nays” came from: Jill Vogel, Richard Black, Frank Ruff, Bryce Reeves, David Suetterlein, Siobhan Dunnavant, and Glen Sturtevant, Jr.
“I had the law on my side,” Lucas said afterward, according to the news report.
There is no assurance yet whether SB 1,400 will prosper in general despite passing the Senate committee. If ever the full Senate gives its nod, the poker bill will have to go to a House of Delegates that tends to frown on gambling, and to call bets on legalization bills.
… But threw out Lucas’ casino bill once again
If she was lucky enough to get eight nods for her poker bill, Lucas failed to convince the Senate committee to approve her casino bill for the nth time.
The Senate committee reportedly voted 7-8 against the Lucas’ bill, which would have paved the way for the opening of a casino in Virginia.
Before the committee voted, Lucas dangled in front of the Senate members the $10 million in annual revenue that Portsmouth could earn by opening a casino in her home city.
“Many of us are also looking to try to bring some of those funds back to Virginia,” she said.
Sen. Scott A. Surovell, D-Fairfax, had Lucas’ back. Revenue from a casino could help the state close its budget shortfall, he said.
“We’re missing out on a real opportunity in this state by not taking advantage of this,” he said.