Churches in Virginia Speak Out Against Potential Bristol Casino

The State of Virginia

Churches located in the state of Virginia are showing opposition to a potential casino in the city of Bristol.

In the United States, gambling can be found in many forms. Some states offer casinos while others have bingo, casinos, the lottery and online gambling. Each state has the ability to offer what they feel is best after a legal process is conducted. In Virginia, an effort is being made to bring casino gaming to several cities via a referendum vote. As the voting day draws near, churches in the state are now speaking out against an effort in Bristol as they do not want to see casinos causing harm to the community.

Anti-Gambling Effort

This November, voters in five cities of the state will be voting on whether or not to approve a casino in their town. Bristol, Portsmouth, Danville, Norfolk and Richmond are all possible locations for a new gaming venue. They meet conditions within a casino bill that was signed into law earlier in the year by Governor Ralph Northam.

In Bristol, churches are not happy with the development and are doing all they can to get voters to go their way and vote NO on November 3. Two churches in Bristol, one in Lebanon and Abingdon, have created a campaign to try and stop the effort.

“House to House, Heart to Heart” is a magazine that the religious entities created that includes an anti-gambling stance. The magazine has information that says the Bible is not approving of gambling. They also connect casinos to issues among family members, crime, financial problems and addiction. They consider gambling as a way to get high ‘chemically-free’.

In the magazine, it calls gambling a psychological addiction. They say pathological gambling is a major addiction and has the same potential to destroy a life as cocaine. The churches believe that gamblers are harder to help then alcoholics when it comes to rehabilitation.

To further push their agenda, the churches say that casinos lead to a higher divorce rate as well as child abuse, suicide, domestic violence, addition, unemployment and bankruptcy issues.

Vote Yes

On the other side of the spectrum, there is a pro-casino group that is pushing for residents to vote yes for the casino. They say the new venue will create jobs, bring in tourism, tax revenues and money to the community. The campaign says that the new casino will bring over 2,000 jobs to the region. It is estimated to produce as much as $15 million in yearly tax revenues for Bristol.

As a Hard Rock branded facility, the casino expects to see around four million tourists every year. The casino would be created by Clyde Stacy and Jim McGlothlin. They are two businessmen in the state who partnered with Hard Rock International for the project. They plan to invest as much as $300 million to renovate the Bristol Mall which is currently vacant.

A model was provided last week as to what the casino would look like, showcasing a two level casino floor. The property would also be home to an outdoor entertainment venue that can hold as many as 20,000 people. An indoor theater would be created as well, able to house 3,200 people.

For dining, the facility would have seven restaurants and four bars. There will also be retail shopping space along with areas for conventions and business meetings. The hotel connected to the casino will have 350 rooms.

So far, it is unclear as to how voters will lean in November. There is no doubt that both the proponents and those opposed will continue to push their agenda. We will know if Bristol will be home to the Hard Rock soon after the vote takes place.

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