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Ebbin Bill Would Keep New Payday Loan Offices 20 Miles Away from Casinos

State Sen. Adam EbbinState Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has proposed a bill that would prevent the State Corporation Commission (SCC) from approving licenses for payday lending and motor vehicle title lending offices within 20 miles of a casino facility.

Payday lending offices give unsecured, small loans in the form of cash advances, and title lenders give secured loans for which the borrowers can use their car as collateral.

If passed, applicants looking to establish either kind of office would have to prove that their proposed location is not within 20 miles of a casino in any state. That 20 mile limit would start at a casino’s front door and be measured in a straight line.

The bill specifies that any payday or title lender that opens before July 1, 2016, will not have its license revoked even if it’s within 20 miles of a casino, and any such lender that opens after that date will not have its license revoked if a casino later opens within 20 miles.

Though reports earlier this fall suggested a recently-recognized Pamunkey Indian tribe wanted to open one outside Richmond, there are no casinos in the Commonwealth.

The bill would effectively ban new payday and title lenders in Arlington County after the planned MGM National Harbor casino opens. That opening is currently set for the second half of 2016.

Ebbin — who represents parts of Arlington County, Alexandria and Fairfax County — could not be reached for comment.

The bill is currently in committee and must pass there before being considered by the Virginia General Assembly. It faces steep odds in the Republican-controlled, business-friendly state legislature. The 2016 legislative session begins in two weeks and is scheduled to last 60 days.

File photo

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