As Alexandria prepares to vote on a giant casino, a public hearing is also set for Bally’s lawyers

As all eyes turn to Alexandria’s waterfront, should it be the place where new development in Virginia’s primary gambling market starts to blossom or where it withers?

That’s what’s on the line this weekend when the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals gives a tentative thumbs-up to a plan to replace Bally’s Arlington with a resort, a residential tower and a ground-level nightclub. If approved, the project is scheduled to start construction on June 29.

As we wrote in this feature earlier this month, which looks beyond Bally’s, it’s not just the future of a giant casino that could be decided on Saturday. The city is also looking for ways to breathe new life into its business district. As the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple reported, Arlington needs to try its hand at some economic diversification.

Meanwhile, Bally’s is facing a pair of lawsuits over its performance. While the general manager of Arlington’s casino had previously said that operations appeared to be running smoothly — he could not be reached for comment for this article — the state attorney general’s office is now signaling that the casino could be engaging in exploitative business practices.

“We believe that Bally’s has engaged in activities that constitute fraud and inducement of a customer to engage in good faith wire transfers for purposes of generating a larger gambling win,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a motion to intervene in one lawsuit.

Racine also said the state is seeking records related to the receiver’s investigation of whether Bally’s has been providing money transfers “that are not for any legitimate reason or business purpose.”

The receiver is seeking at least $112 million from Bally’s, and he has previously claimed that when his team buys the casino out of bankruptcy, Bally’s will be worth up to $4.5 billion.

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