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Poll: What would you think of a Capitals and Wizards arena in Fairfax County?

A rendering of Monumental’s proposed sports arena in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard (courtesy JBG Smith)

State lawmakers punted consideration of a casino in Fairfax County to next year, but that hasn’t stopped some proponents from seeking to assist in the divisive plan to bring the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Northern Virginia, whose odds of a comeback win are looking slim.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell, who represents Fairfax County’s Richmond Highway corridor, recently pitched the idea of bringing both a casino and the sports arena to Tysons to a representative of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the basketball and hockey teams, the Washington Post reported on Sunday (March 24).

According to the Post, Surovell dropped the idea after Monumental President of External Affairs Monica Dixon “immediately” rejected it, but Christopher Clemente, CEO of the aspiring casino developer Comstock, and Ben Tribbett, a prominent consultant whose clients include Comstock and Surovell, “continued shopping the idea last week.”

The suggestion of combined arena/casino site in Tysons emerged as Monumental’s much-hyped plan to move the teams from D.C. to Alexandria’s Potomac Yard flailed for support. The Virginia General Assembly adjourned on March 9 without including funding for a state authority to finance the $2 billion entertainment district in their budget proposal, and at least one Alexandria City elected official withdrew her endorsement of the project.

Clemente told the Post that a joint development could “enhance financing options for the arena” by using tax revenue generated by the casino to guarantee bonds that would pay for the stadium, but Potomac Yard developer JBG Smith’s CEO, Matt Kelly, noted the deal could be used to evade Virginia’s requirement that casinos get approved by voter referendum.

Like the arena, Fairfax County’s potential casino is envisioned as part of an entertainment district, according to State Sen. Dave Marsden, who sponsored legislation to make the county eligible for a gambling establishment this past session and in 2023.

After vocal opposition from local residents and some officials, though the county board stopped short of taking an official position, a Senate committee voted on Feb. 6 to continue this year’s bill to 2025 to allow for more study and public engagement.

The combined facility proposal appears to be dead on arrival, with Monumental owner Ted Leonsis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin reportedly expressing “disgust” and “no interest,” respectively. But hypothetically, would you support the Wizards and Capitals calling Fairfax County home? Would it alter your stance on a casino?

Rendering courtesy JBG Smith

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