NEW: McLean Citizens Association joins opposition to impending casino bill

The Virginia General Assembly will convene in Richmond for its 2024 session on Jan. 10 (via Virginia House of Delegates/Flickr)

Opposition continues to mount against the possibility of a casino in Fairfax County.

With the Virginia General Assembly kicking off its 2024 legislative session tomorrow, the McLean Citizens Association has come out against a bill expected to be filed soon by state Sen. Dave Marsden, who has proposed adding Fairfax County to the list of localities where a gaming casino could be permitted.

Described as an “unofficial town council” for residents of the greater McLean area, the MCA’s board of directors voted last week to send a letter to the county’s delegates and state senators expressing its opposition to the prospective bill, a stance also adopted by Reston Association.

“Many of our members and residents have contacted MCA Board members to express their opposition to allowing casinos to be operated in Fairfax County,” MCA President Linda Walsh said in a statement. “MCA is watching this closely.”

Sent on Monday (Jan. 8), the letter acknowledges that the MCA can’t comment in detail on the legislation, since it hasn’t been made public yet.

However, developer Comstock is reportedly seeking to build a casino near the Wiehle Metro station in Reston. Marsden has argued that Tysons would be a better fit, suggesting the facility could be part of an entertainment district with a performing arts venue and a conference center.

Citing a need for the county to diversify its commercial tax base with the office market still struggling to recover from the pandemic, Marsden submitted legislation last year that would’ve opened the door for a casino in Fairfax County along Metro’s Silver Line. The bill was quickly withdrawn.

Though he doesn’t represent Reston or Tysons, Marsden serves on the senate’s finance and appropriations committee, which handles budget and tax-related legislation. It will be chaired this year by Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18).

Marsden told FFXnow on Dec. 28 that his new bill will be filed within “the next two weeks.” The filing deadline is Jan. 19.

Even if the legislation passes through the General Assembly and gets signed into law by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a voter referendum would still be required to officially authorize a casino in Fairfax County. The establishments have only been approved in five Virginia cities.

MCA’s full letter to the county’s General Assembly delegation is below:

Dear Fairfax County Delegation to the State Senate and House of Delegates:

The McLean Citizens Association (“MCA”) has recently become aware of intentions to introduce legislation in the upcoming session of the Virginia Assembly that would amend the Code of Virginia, Title 58.1 Chapter 41 in a way that would allow a gaming casino to operate in Fairfax County. Among other suggested sites, proponents of this effort have named Tysons, the majority of which lies within the MCA’s general membership area, as a potential location for a casino.

Since the bill has not yet been submitted in the Assembly, MCA is not able to comment on it in detail at this time. However, many members of MCA are concerned about this initiative. Accordingly, the MCA Board has voted to express its opposition to legislation that would allow a gaming casino in Fairfax County.

Regards,

Linda Walsh

MCA President

Photo via Virginia House of Delegates/Flickr

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