The residents of Richmond are set to give have a second vote on whether the city to host a casino in Southside after the Richmond City Circuit Court Judge and the Virginia Lottery gave a go-ahead to the proposal. The decision comes after the City Council had an 8 to 1 vote in favor of requesting another referendum to be placed on the upcoming ballot at its meeting in June following the failure of the first referendum.
Earlier this week, the signed petition was confirmed on the official Twitter account of the Richmond Office of Elections which also highlighted its authority to hold the vote.
According to the petition, the referendum on the matter will be part of a special election that is set to take place on November 7th, 2023 and will aim to gather the local residents’ opinions on whether or not casino gambling services should become available at a casino gaming establishment in Richmond.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who has been a supporter of the proposed casino gambling expansion, once again reiterated his support for the project and noted the potential of the city for the development of a destination resort and entertainment venue. He shared that Richmond was experiencing record growth and development, and the addition of a destination resort will help the authorities change the economic trajectory of South Side for the future.
First Vote on the Casino Resort Referendum Was Unsuccessful
The $562-million casino and resort that was supposed to be established in Richmond was first introduced in 2020, after the General Assembly voted in favor of the proposed legalization of casino gambling services in five cities, including Danville, Bristol, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.
Regardless of the mass information campaign carried out by RVA Entertainment Holdings, Richmond voters rejected the proposed casino resort in a 51% to 49% vote that took place in late 2020.
The proponents of the project have noted that the casino resort will bring general fund revenue of about $30 million and will result in the creation of no less than 1,300 jobs. However, the opponents of the proposed resort and casino shared that the new venue would take advantage of economically disadvantaged people in the region. A group of critics have fought to make sure that Richmond will not be able to host a second vote until Petersburg is considered as a possible destination to host the proposed casino project.
In June last year, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a two-year budget allowing Petersburg to take its time and consider whether it wanted to add a casino or not.
Now, the casino referendum could still be blocked by the revised state budget language that needs to receive the General Assembly’s approval. If the referendum still takes place and local residents vote in favor of the proposed casino, the city of Richmond will get a one-off upfront payment worth $25 million for the project, which involves a casino, a luxury hotel, conference venues, dining options, and various resort amenities.